Two prayers from Reb Zalman z”l for (American) Thanksgiving

Dear friends,

From 2007 until 2014, the Reb Zalman blog regularly shared some of Reb Zalman z”l’s precious teachings on a variety of topics. You will find there around 300 entries, many of them authored by Reb Zalman himself (alav hashalom / peace be upon him!) and all related to his teachings.

During most of that time, the site was found at the URL (rzlp for short) — but links with the old RZLP web address no longer work; when the University of Colorado took over his collections in 2013, the site was moved to (or for short.)

The site continues to be focused on his teachings and will, from time to time, host new content. Try using the search as the best way to navigate.

I am quite certain Reb Zalman would like me to share something that he used to share without fail at this time every year, asking me to get the word out:

Thanksgiving, a time for gratitude, is a time for giving thanks! Reb Zalman used toencourage  us, after we partake in our Thanksgiving celebration, to take a moment for birkat hamazon / grace after meals, (however that comes up for you and your company in your particular ways of “Jew”-ing), and to reflect on whatever you are thankful for, including the meal.

Here are the links for two Thanksgiving resources you can download:

If Reb Zalman’s innovative inserts work for you and yours, please do use them. Theyreflect s a core teaching of Jewish Renewal that for all times, we have been empowered to make the tradition into our own. The Men of the Great Assembly would agree.

Every year, when I put this out, I am reminded of the Thanksgiving holiday’s taint from imperialistic treatment and decimation of native peoples by Western conquerors. For these, we might consider Reb Zalman’s moving Tahanun / penitential prayer:

Reb Zalman’s heart did not ignore these concerns. Yasher Koach to all our hevra who care so deeply for the downtrodden and for righting injustice!

Here’s a geruss / greeting to the entire community and students of Reb Zalman, a”h, everywhere. Blessings for a happy Thanksgiving and a fraylichen Hanukkah.

Gabbai Seth Fishman


Photo by Miguel Cordova (c) Spirit of the Desert Productions.