Another mother poem: Thanksgiving
Another mother poem: One Year / Mother Psalm 9

Prayers for Thanksgiving from Reb Zalman

Just in time for the holiday, my beloved Reb Zalman Shachter-Shalomi has revised his Thanksgiving prayer. First there's an English paragraph:

For all the boons in our lives we offer our thanks to you YHVH our God and in blessing your Name we hope that all of life will bless You too and especially today because:

In the days of the Pilgrims, the Puritans, when they arrived at these safe shores, suffered hunger and cold. They sang and prayed to the Rock of their Salvation. And You, standing by them, roused the caring of the Natives for them: who fed them, turkey and corn and other delights. Thus saved You them from starvation, and they learned the ways of peace with the inhabitants of the land. Therefore, feeling grateful, they dedicated a day of Thanksgiving each year as a remembrance for future generations, feeding unfortunates feasts of thanks. Thus do we thank You for all the good in our lives, God of kindness, Lord of Peace; thus do we thank You.

Then he offers the same text in Hebrew. Those who know the prayer Al haNisim ("For the Miracles") which is recited on Chanukah (and also on Purim) will realize, upon reading the Hebrew, that the structure of this Thanksgiving prayer is adapted from that one. (I'd enclose it here in Hebrew, but I don't seem to be able to convince any of the software on my machine to retain the directionality of the text -- if you want to read the Hebrew, you'll have to download Reb Zalman's pdf file!)

And then, for families who like to sing -- maybe especially families where someone at the table is Christian and is accustomed to singing hymns in the vernacular -- he offers the lyrics to "We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing." It's a beautiful hymn. A little bit of digging revealed that it was originally written in 1597 in Dutch; then translated into Latin; then translated into English! Anyway, it has a lovely melody; if you don't know it, here's a version sung by the Celtic Women, visible on YouTube over a medley of family and harvest images.

If you're so inclined, you can download Reb Zalman's prayers as a pdf -- an easy one page to print.

One way or another, I hope your Thanksgiving is sweet and full of gratitude!