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Vayeitzei and Thanks Giving

Written by Fredrick Rivenson

As one may remember, our patriarch Yaakov had four wives: Rachel, Leah and their two maid-servants, Bilhah and Zilpah. Rachel and Leah, through prophesy, knew that Yaakov would have 12 sons, each establishing their own tribe, and thought that as Yaakov had four wives, each wife would give birth to three sons. However, as it turned out, Leah was had four sons. At the birth of her 4th son, Leah named that child “Yehudah” -“Judah”, meaning, “Now I will praise Hashem”. She gave special thanks because

Hashem had given her more than her share. That is why Jews are called “Yehudim”, implying that we are all descended from Yehudah, no matter what specific tribe each of us may belong to. We see in the Purim story, that Mordechai is called “Mordechai, the Yehudi”, despite the fact that he came from the tribe of Benjamin.

We are all Yehudim because we always thank Hashem for giving us more than our share. The Jew is ever conscious of Hashem’s graciousness and mercy. To us, our health and prosperity, our life itself, is neither a given nor is or based on one’s own efforts. Instead we thank Hashem for everything. Our strength lays in our readiness to be a willing receptacle of Hashem’s talents, blessings, and responsibility while ascribing nothing to ourselves. No matter how much or little one may think he or she has, all he or she has is a gift from Hashem. Hashem is the Creator and Ruler of all things. He alone has made, does make, and will make all things.

Not just on Thanksgiving Day, but every day, we must remember to thank Hashem for all he provides.

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