In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free,
While God is marching on!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Jewish Perspective on Thanksgiving

While researching my earlier Thanksgiving post, I came across a wonderful article that discusses Thanksgiving in light of the Jewish commandment of bikurim: "During the Temple Era, every farmer was commanded to bring to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem the first fruits which ripened in his orchard. There he would recite a passage thanking G-d for the Land and its bountiful harvest, and the fruit were given to the Kohanim (priests)." The writer makes this observation about the difference between bikurim and all the other ways to thank God: "[B]ikurim involves more than just words -- it requires a commitment; the gratitude must express itself in deeds. Bikurim implies that our thankfulness to G-d cannot remain in the realm of emotions, thoughts, or even speech, but must also move us to action." This is a marvelous lesson for one of any faith! One other statement in this article hit home to me very powerfully:
There is no doubt that this great country's historically unprecedented success and prosperity is due to the fact that its Founding Fathers recognized that there is a Supreme Being who provides and cares for every creature. They understood that since God sustains and gives life to every being, it follows that every being has certain "unalienable rights" upon which no government can impinge.
If only our political "leaders" today understood this principle!

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