Rabbi's Message - November 30, 2021
It’s been a big weekend for Jewish Americans. First there was Thanksgiving, with its meal prep, traditionally large gatherings, or pandemically small ones. Then we could take advantage of Black Friday deals (last minute Chanukkah shopping anyone?). Then Shabbat. Then Chanukkah began on Sunday. Then perhaps we also took a look at Cyber Monday deals from the COVID-safety of our homes. And now, it's Tuesday. But its still not just a regular Tuesday, its #GivingTuesday, which much like the American Thanksgiving traditions and commercial “holidays” around it, has grown in prominence over the last several years.
Giving Tuesday, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. The Tuesday which, as Rabbi Paul Kipnes writes, “moves us away from the popular narcissistic ‘gimme-gimme’ culture (gimme presents, gimme food) instead turns us outward. We find ourselves being especially thankful for the food, the family surrounding us and the blessings that uplift our lives. If only we could harness those warm fuzzy feelings and transform them into a force for tikkun… [Giving Tuesday] is a day when we are invited to give to others to act to create a better, brighter world.” And this year, may it feel especially bright as we light our menorahs.
Whether you are waiting for online orders to arrive, or looking at a shiny new something purchased this weekend or not. Whether you, or those in your household, are excitedly opening presents for Chanukkah, take some time today to give. Be that monetarily to your preferred charities, donating new or used goods to others, or be that a simple act of kindness, or something else – use today to think about balancing the gratitude we have for the blessings in our lives represented by Thanksgiving, and for the freedom that Chanukkah represents, with acts that turn us outward to bring freedom and blessings to others.
I hope to see you tonight at Temple Israel to celebrate Chanukkah on this Giving Tuesday at our drive-thru and outdoor menorah lighting. We encourage you to bring some donations from St. Vincent’s needs list, as we partner with them on this Giving Tuesday along with our Chanukkah fun!