By Rabbi Avrohom Brashevitzky
Director of Chabad Jewish Center of Doral, FL
It was close to Pesach, the first year we moved out to our Shlichus. My wife was looking for a giant pot, big enough for chicken soup to feed the 65 guests we were expecting for the first Seder.
She went to Linen N’ Things (remember that store? alav hashalom), there were none. She was at Bed Bath & Beyond and other major chain stores. It seemed that the only pots they had were small saucepans or those big enough to prepare spaghetti for a “large” family (you know, 5-6 people).
She approached one of the managers who explained that “we only carry the very big pots around cooking season.”
“When’s cooking season?” my wife asked.
“You know, around Thanksgiving and the other holiday…”
We had a good laugh. Growing up in Crown Heights, it seems that every day is cooking season, or at least every erev Shabbos and Yom Tov.
Then it dawned on me: This is a tremendous lesson for us who are lucky to know about and appreciate Shabbos. After all, we seem to prepare those “big holiday meals” each and every week. We all Baruch Hashem sit down for a several course dinner every Friday evening and Shabbos day.
The only difference is that there are no Help Lines or talk shows to help your Balabuste get through the “dificulty ” of serving up a festive meal for 15+ people. It’s done every week throughout the year without fanfare and sans the need to enrich all the psychotherapist out there. Imagine what would be if the big pharmaceutical companies realized what kind of goldmine this could be for them?
It occurred to me that perhaps our “Thanksgiving Dinner” is in fact taking place in every Yiddishe home each Shabbos and Yom Tov. Perhaps it would be a good idea to take a few moments to go around the table and have everyone share at least one thing special that happened to them during the past week for which they are especially thankful.
Of course we say Modeh Ani every day. We daven and constantly say Baruch Hashem. However, do we really stop and think outside the routine and the rote? Do we take the step to reflect on our week and appreciate all the great kindness of Hashem – with us each and every day?
I’m not suggesting that we institute a new minhag. I do however share this with our guests at our Shabbos Table. So many times as we went around the table, too many had a problem coming up with something to be thankful for!
“Rabbi, I can’t think of anything.” Really? Were you asleep for the past 6 days? In a coma (Ch”V)? Did you manage to get out of bed, to walk, talk, run etc.?
I utilize the moment to explain about the importance of thanking Hashem; Hakoras Hatov and how we need it more than Hashem “needs” to hear it from us.
While we are at it, I have something I’m really grateful for. It may seem so obvious or perhaps not even deserving a mention, but this is what have come to realize after seeing the jam-packed parking lots of the supermarkets in my area and the rush and anxiety taking hold of the many cooking for Thanksgiving.
I want scream out the following: Thank you to my wife and all the Yiddishe mames who make it seem so simple and easy to put together all those wonderful Shabbos meals I’ve enjoyed over the years.