As far as I know, there are only two countries in the world that were founded on the idea of hope.
America and Israel.
And what was the hope?
The hope of achieving religious freedom, and freedom from the tyranny of centralized government.
The Children of Israel, fleeing Egyptian slavery and religious persecution, settled the land of Israel over 3,000 years ago, thereby fulfilling G-d’s eternal covenant with the Jewish people.
The Pilgrims saw themselves as the children of the children of Israel, escaping a British Pharaoh and crossing a liquid desert.
In fact, so complete was the Pilgrim identification with the Jewish narrative that they seriously considered making Hebrew the national language.
Israel and America are religious and national twins.
America without Judeo-Christianity at its core would be a European Democratic-Socialist state.
And Israel without Judaism would be bagels and cream cheese, pita and hummus.
At Casa Avrech, when we gather for our Thanksgiving meal, we go round the table, each of us listing our reasons for being thankful.
The kids laugh because I always say the same thing:
“I’m grateful that Karen married me.”
Well, I’m still grateful that Karen married me. I’m grateful that our daughters are lovely and generous young women. I’m grateful that our sons-in-law are kind and loving husbands. I’m grateful that our granddaughters, Maayan Ariel and Lielle Meital, are bright and happy children. I’m grateful that the memories of our twenty-two years with our late son Ariel zt”l are filled with joy and pride in his piety, modesty and goodness.
I’m grateful that America makes this wonderful life possible.
George Washington released this Thanksgiving Proclamation on October 3, 1789. Read it and savor the language, the love of G-d and country. Imagine if the ACLU were around in those days.
Karen and I wish all our friends and relatives a happy Thanksgiving.
If you’re going to sit down and watch one Thanksgiving movie, Seraphic Secret recommends A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973). Its message of the enduring importance of faith, family, and friendship, is a delight.