May 9, 2021

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Thanksgiving and Black Friday: A dreadful mixture! | Alex Israel

Of course. I grew up in the Uk and I have been dwelling in Israel for 30 many years. What do I know about Thanksgiving? And nevertheless, I enjoy the idea.

A family holiday that is dedicated to gratitude would seem like a superb blessing. It is, in fact, quintessentially Jewish! Right after all, the getaway of Sukkot celebrates the harvest, the “Ingathering,” and we recite Hallel — the prayer of thanksgiving — for 8 times. Seems familiar?

Gratitude is very good for you. Appreciation tends to make us happier, kinder and superior individuals. It even makes us healthier! In a social experiment (Emmons and McCullough), college pupils ended up asked to compose a reflection each and every day, about their working day. Team 1 have been asked to produce what they had been thankful for, Team 2 wrote what irritated or upset them, and Group 3 wrote everything that came to intellect. Right after many months, the group who focused on gratitude frequented the health care provider fewer, showed far better psychological and mental wellbeing, and even exercised extra!

But then, soon after Thanksgiving will come Black Friday and Cyber Monday, that holiday getaway of  frenzied consumerism. (And even in Israel in which we have no “Thanksgiving,” we much too are inundated with sales.)

Is there a link between Thanksgiving and the ideal browsing days of the 12 months? I would argue that it is an inverse marriage. However we may consider that purchasing provides us pleasure, that a offer on new headphones, or a discount pair of jeans will maximize our pleasure and very well-getting, it truly does not, and it can even increase our dissatisfaction. Listen to Rabbi Sacks:

A purchaser culture encourages us to expend revenue we never have, on items we don’t need, for a happiness that won’t last… Having what we want only temporarily satisfies drive. We pretty much straight away come across new things to need, so that while we may perhaps uncover ourselves much better off materially, we do not grow to be happier psychologically.” (Morality. pg.106)

Thanksgiving helps make us respect what we have Black Friday inflames our discontent by thinking of all that we do not but have.

As a former director of General Motors Investigation Lab as soon as place it: ‘Advertising is the organized creation of dissatisfaction.’ Joy is good for us, but it is poor for organization.” (ibid)

As I stated, Thanksgiving and Black Friday are a contradiction in phrases.

Our parsha this 7 days provides us a lovely perception into a modesty, a mindset of simplicity, and the pleasure we can discover in the easy points in everyday living. The scene: Jacob, escaping his murderous brother Esau, asks for God’s defense:

If you will be with me and guard me on my way, and give me bread to try to eat and outfits to wear…” (Gen 28:20)

The medieval commentator Rabbenu Bachai feedback:

Bread to try to eat and dresses to dress in: This is the ask for of the righteous from God they do not ask for excess or luxurious but just the essentials… and as we know the heady pursuit of luxurious is the supply of a great deal strain and discontent. A such a God fearing individual need to be joyful with his good deal in lifestyle and suffice with the basics…

He even more observes:

That which is most essential is in higher and extra ready supply in character, and that which is non-important is scarce and in limited supply:

Valuable stones and pricey jewels are an unheard of organic commodity and are not often in the possession of folks this is so mainly because individuals can unquestionably reside without the need of them. But foods, which is far more important, is in larger supply… Drinking water is far more critical nonetheless … and as a result water is much more readily accessible widespread than food stuff … and there is no place which lacks air! So you see that …God, in his good wisdom, arranged the purely natural world to deliver the essentials for His creations. And as a result, Jacob asked only for the basic principles: Bread to try to eat, and clothes to wear”.

In this auspicious moment, Jacob provides us with a model and manual to contentment and modest residing a superb counterbalance to our shopper society.

Shabbat Shalom!

Notice: Jacob did not normally deal with to keep this materials simplicity. See the latter 50 percent of our parsha and my comments in this report.

Alex Israel is an creator, an international lecturer and a beloved trainer of Tanakh and Jewish Assumed at Pardes, Yeshivat Eretz Hatzvi and Midreshet Lindenbaum. He enjoys pondering about Torah, Israel and the Jewish environment. Passions include things like Israel, its surroundings, culture, poetry, music, movie and wine jogging, photography, gardening, and everyday living alone.&#13
See his Torah at www.alexisrael.org