[In Vayishlach, the Torah reading for this Shabbat during Thanksgiving weekend, Jacob showered his brother Esau with gifts out of fear that Esau's approach, along with several hundred men, had the purpose of revenge. Instead, it was a touching reunion that ensues, only after Jacob had wrestled with a "man" when he was left alone. As Esau saw Jacob's generous sharing, he said, "I have enough, my brother." Esau offered for Jacob to follow him. Jacob said he would come later, and never did keep that promise. The momentary reconciliation remains, though, as does the giving spirit that resulted in a glimpse of family harmony. That moment inspired this expression of thanks].
At this time of in-person reunions
And long-distance contact,
And giving to others so their lives can be more full, even in a small way,
We give thanks.
We give thanks for those charged with defending our country
Those who provide leadership
Those who see every shade of difference in our nation
And those who seek to bridge divisions to create shared understanding.
We give thanks for those who guard and sustain traditions
Those who infuse the old with the new
Those who view their increasing years as a source deepening wisdom
That can keep them as young as the brightest lights of a new generation.
We give thanks for fighters for freedom who use words and ideas that challenge
And those who seek any measure of revolution through peaceful, cooperative change based in justice and compassion.
We give thanks for seekers, helpers, healers, peacemakers
Those who give their hope to the despairing
Those who offer their love to anyone unloved and forgotten.
We give thanks for dancers, singers, playwrights, composers, songwriters, choreographers, artists, and authors who find new ways to add beauty, appreciation and depth to our lives.
We give thanks for hard workers, whether owners or employees, no matter what their assigned role or chosen occupation or calling, who see the value of dedication, devotion, commitment, responsibility and dependability and reward a job well done with mutual affirmation and respect.
We give thanks for mountains, hills, rains that quench a thirsty land, lakes and rivers, seas, grasses, and trees that all fill us with wonder.
We give thanks for a world that enables us to have enough, to be happy with what we have, and to share our own bounty as a demonstration of our gratitude.
For all these and more, Eternal God,
MODIM ANACHNU LACH,
We thank You.