Honorable Mensch-ion

Honest Thanksgiving

Our tradition tells us  kol ha’omer davar b’shem omro, mevi geula l’olam – whoever says something in the name of the one who said it first, brings redemption to the world. The words below are the words of my father, Rabbi Charles Sherman, a Thanksgiving message for all.

“The holidays are wonderful. But for many of us, the holidays are difficult. This is the first Thanksgiving since our son’s passing. So my family and I are confronted with an existential, universal, and ancient question: How does one express gratitude with a broken heart? For many, the heartbreak may not be about grief, but instead, illness, family tensions, divorce, economic setbacks, injustice.

We can’t go back to our old lives, and yes, some of our old dreams will almost certainly be lost to us. But by learning to redefine key dimensions of our lives, by learning to see the familiar in new ways, we can gradually gain access to new treasures, discovering richness and meaning where before there seemed none. We can look forward. We can take those moments of laughter, those happy memories, savor them, and draw on them for strength.

When we were young, and “under the weather,” our parents would say to us, “Have some soup, have some juice — it will be good for you.” Likewise, in the midst of what might be a bittersweet holiday, we might have to let go some — laugh, tell a story or enjoy a story, cheer on a football team, have a glass of wine, bake a pie. Because those little moments of lightness and joy are truly good for us.

Usually I would offer you and myself a wish of Happy Thanksgiving. But this year, for those being tested, I wish a peaceful Thanksgiving, with some moments of gratitude and joy sneaking in.”

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