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		                                    Thinking Torah Blog		                                </span>

11/25/2022 05:00:00 PM

Nov25

Rabbi Josh Whinston

While there aren’t any turkeys in this week’s Torah portion, Toldot, there are plenty of famous family meals. The first meal being the stew that Jacob uses to acquire Esau’s birthright after Esau returns from the field empty handed, and the second meal being the one in which Jacob tricks Isaac into believing he is Esau and has Isaac bless him instead of his brother. As we all know, family meals can sometimes be dramatic. Food may be essentially about keeping ourselves alive, but a meal together is about much more than the food. While Jacob’s actions are certainly questionable, he clearly knew that each meal was about more than what was transpiring on the surface. 

Many of us will be gathering around festive tables today, surrounded by friends and family. Even in the midst of a secular observance, there is the possibility of sacredness. The day isn’t really about the turkey, the mashed potatoes, or the gravy. It is about something much more life sustaining than food. The Thanksgiving table, and truly any festive meal, is about relationship and how we can choose to enliven and expand our relationships with each other. Like all our patriarchs and all of us, Jacob was a flawed person who misused sacred meals for his own benefit. For those of us gathering around tables with family and friends, may we enter Thanksgiving with joy, love, and hope for greater connection.

Tue, January 31 2023 9 Sh'vat 5783