July 16, 2024

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

Certainly. I grew up in the British isles and I have been living in Israel for 30 decades. What do I know about Thanksgiving? And however, I adore the concept.

A loved ones holiday getaway that is focused to gratitude appears to be like a amazing blessing. It is, in fact, quintessentially Jewish! Just after all, the getaway of Sukkot celebrates the harvest, the “Ingathering,” and we recite Hallel — the prayer of thanksgiving — for eight times. Seems familiar?

Gratitude is very good for you. Appreciation makes us happier, kinder and far better folks. It even can make us much healthier! In a social experiment (Emmons and McCullough), university college students were being asked to publish a reflection every day, about their working day. Group 1 ended up asked to write what they ended up grateful for, Team 2 wrote what irritated or upset them, and Team 3 wrote everything that arrived to intellect. Following several weeks, the team who targeted upon gratitude frequented the medical professional significantly less, confirmed better emotional and psychological well being, and even exercised more!

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

Is there a relationship among Thanksgiving and the very best browsing days of the yr? I would argue that it is an inverse relationship. While we may well believe that searching brings us pleasure, that a deal on new headphones, or a bargain pair of jeans will maximize our pleasure and properly-becoming, it basically doesn’t, and it can even maximize our dissatisfaction. Pay attention to Rabbi Sacks:

A purchaser culture encourages us to expend cash we never have, on items we don’t will need, for a contentment that won’t last… Having what we want only briefly satisfies need. We just about immediately obtain new things to wish, so that however we could locate ourselves far better off materially, we do not come to be happier psychologically.” (Morality. pg.106)

Thanksgiving makes us respect what we have Black Friday inflames our discontent by taking into consideration all that we do not but have.

As a former director of Typical Motors Research Lab the moment put it: ‘Advertising is the organized creation of dissatisfaction.’ Joy is fantastic for us, but it is undesirable for enterprise.” (ibid)

As I explained, Thanksgiving and Black Friday are a contradiction in terms.

Our parsha this week offers us a pretty insight into a modesty, a mentality of simplicity, and the fulfillment we can locate in the simple issues in daily life. The scene: Jacob, escaping his murderous brother Esau, asks for God’s security:

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

The medieval commentator Rabbenu Bachai opinions:

Bread to eat and garments to put on: This is the request of the righteous from God they do not request surplus or luxury but simply the essentials… and as we know the heady pursuit of luxury is the supply of much anxiety and discontent. A these types of a God fearing man or woman ought to be pleased with his great deal in everyday living and suffice with the basics…

He further more observes:

That which is most basic is in better and extra ready provide in nature, and that which is non-important is rare and in short supply:

Cherished stones and expensive jewels are an unusual all-natural commodity and are rarely in the possession of men and women this is so mainly because men and women can surely stay with out them. But food stuff, which is much more important, is in better supply… H2o is extra vital however … and for this reason h2o is much more conveniently readily available frequent than foods … and there is no place which lacks air! So you see that …God, in his great wisdom, organized the all-natural globe to give the necessities for His creations. And as a result, Jacob asked only for the fundamentals: Bread to try to eat, and apparel to wear”.

In this auspicious second, Jacob provides us with a design and information to contentment and modest residing a wonderful counterbalance to our client tradition.

Shabbat Shalom!

Take note: Jacob did not often deal with to retain this product simplicity. See the latter half of our parsha and my reviews in this short article.

Alex Israel is an author, an worldwide lecturer and a beloved trainer of Tanakh and Jewish Believed at Pardes, Yeshivat Eretz Hatzvi and Midreshet Lindenbaum. He loves contemplating about Torah, Israel and the Jewish planet. Passions consist of Israel, its surroundings, culture, poetry, audio, movie and wine managing, pictures, gardening, and lifetime itself.&#13
See his Torah at www.alexisrael.org