Local rabbis riff on Chanukah
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Local rabbis riff on Chanukah

A reflection on God's timing and next year's Thanksgivukkah

Next year, America will shut down on the first day of Chanukah.

It will be a legal holiday.

No, this is not an effort by federal lawmakers to give Jewish holidays equal time on the federal holiday calendar.

Rather, the first day of Chanukah falls on Thanksgiving: Nov. 28

If this sounds unusual, well, it is.

This unusual coincidence will reportedly next occur in 2070 and 2165 – and then not for 60,000 years.

“It’s going to take us a little while to wrap our minds around it,” said Rabbi Debra Orenstein of Congregation B’nai Israel in Emerson. “It’s so weird to contemplate. I’m convinced there are strong, powerful spiritual opportunities in this timing.”

How so?

“Every year we have this conversation – are the High Holy Days early? Are they late? There’s an invitation in this crazy timing next year to cast aside all our own sense of ‘why isn’t this on my clock?’ and start to really get in harmony with God’s timing.

“The Mishnah teaches, ‘Align your will with God’s will.’ Similarly, align your timing with God’s timing. Sometimes we’re very impatient; we feel things are coming too slow. We’re always wanting God to adjust to our timing, including on the big issues, like ‘When am I going to meet my bashert? When will that job come? When will the mashiach be here?’ It’s just an invitation to laugh at ourselves and get back in rhythm with God’s time,” Orenstein said.

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