This is the story of a feast feeding a famine, oil igniting a soul, turkey preening as a heritage bird.
This is Thanksgiving bumping up against Chanukah. And, for a Jew, if this is not an identity crisis, what is?
Spraying whipped cream on your menorah and lighting the pumpkin pie; spinning your turkey and carving your dreidel; handing out stuffing to all the children and stuffing the gobbling gobbler with Chanukah gelt; and concluding it all with golden donuts filled with cranberry sauce and topped with gravy for desert, while sitting back to watch a game of sizzling latke-ball while the footballs are being deep-fried back in the kitchen. Yikes!
This is a clash of cultures – and it is best understood in the clash of two other cultures. The first is the Jewish and Egyptian clash described in this week’s Torah reading. The second is the Jewish and Greek, from the story of Chanukah.
This week Parshat Mikeitz relates the first ever confrontation between cultures, and its lessons are as relevant today as they are astonishing. They also reveal for us the true historical root of Thanksgiving.
Today, within the confluence of Chanukah, Shabbat Mikeitz, and Thanksgiving, the secret to maintaining our Jewish identity is discovered, despite the challenges presented to us by our existing cultures.
Hint: it has to do with NOT maintaining it.