Wednesday, November 22, 2006

H o d u   L ’ h o d u :
a Thanksgiving zemer
by Ross Wolman

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday. Just like Shabbat and Jewish holidays, you can get together with friends and family for a large festive meal. Unlike Shabbat and Jewish holidays, on the other hand, there is no prohibition on melakha, creative labor. So you can cook (instead of the day before) and drive and buy stuff and harvest pumpkins and various other activities of a creative nature.

You can also have a folksy guitar jam and sing songs such as Hodu L’hodu by Ross Wolman:
chorus:
Hodu l'hodu
Let's take a trip to Hodu
Hodu m'itanu

[note: it's probably more grammatical to say hodu itanu, "give thanks with us" instead of hodu mei’itanu, "give thanks from us" depending on what the author's intentions were]
Happy Thanksgiving to you

For almost a month on the Mayflower boat
The Pilgrims sailed ‘cross the great sea
And all they could eat was potatoes and goat
And slices of cheese they called Brie
And when they arrived and made home of that place
They knew that now they’d be free
So when they sat down, gave thanks and said grace
They ate of a free-range turkey
Oh...


(chorus)

The Pilgrims they made lots of friends in the land
That they thought was eastern Indi...a
All of the men had an axe in each hand
But seemed to us rather friendly
Then one day when they ran out of food
The “Indians” shared theirs with us
So we said to the chief “thanks Indian Dude!”
Then gave thanks and ate with no fuss
Oh...


(chorus)

One thing that I learned from a friend who is Druse
Will shock you right out of your socks
Did you know on the boat was a handful of Jews
That survived on some bagels and lox
They saw all the people that lived in this land
And said after the meal was complete
For your kindness to us we shall make all the same
One word for India, for thanks and meat

Oh...


(chorus)


I'd like to add in the guitar chords but have no idea how to make them line up with the proper words. If you want a copy of the original PDF with guitar chord letters, email me and I'll send it on.

9 Comments:

Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

Unlike Shabbat and Jewish holidays, on the other hand, there is no prohibition on melakha, creative labor. So you can cook (instead of the day before)....

As opposed to the Jewish mo`adoth, when cooking is considered, um, a forbidden melakha?!

11/22/2006 11:48 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Even on yontef, you can't do *everything* involved in cooking the same way you would do it on a weekday, right?

11/23/2006 6:46 AM  
Blogger Lipman said...

To me, the American thanksgiving thing is alien anyway, but even if you don't see a prohibition for it, do you think it should be elevated to a quasi-chag?

11/23/2006 7:14 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Another benefit of non-hhagim — UMBRELLAS!

Lipman:

I think that the founding of the USA and its slow development towards the ideals it stands for is at least as significant for the Jewish community here as any of the Local Purim celebrations of various Jewish communities around the world that were made to celebrate the saving of that community from some local Haman-like evil.

11/23/2006 10:39 AM  
Blogger Elie said...

Love the song! Happy Thanksgiving.

In terms of whether to celebrate Thanksgiving, I do celebrate it, but as I said last year, I do respect those American Jews who, in choosing not observe this day, are simply following the views of their own poskim. However, those whose rejection of Thanksgiving really reflects an overall lack of appreciation and hakaros hatov to this country, have nothing but my contempt and pity.

11/23/2006 10:54 AM  
Blogger Lipman said...

Steg,

there's something to be said for that, though this isn't the usual and intended topic of the day, is it?

Even if you don't condsider the pagan (incl. Christian) origins, isn't today's Thanksgiving primarily the harvest festival, and secondarily a day to thank God and/or people, also to abstract ideas and concepts imagined to be beings for whatever you subjectively feel appropriate?

(Correct me if I'm wrong - I really don't know much about Thanksgiving.)

In the latter case, I even see a certain danger of evôde zore in case thankfulness towards God because of the USA turns into thankfulness towards the USA as if it was a living being.


Elie,

it seems to me that one should be reluctant to think everybody who is rather indifferent about Thanksgiving is motivated by an overall lack of appreciation and hakoras hatov to this country. Maybe they don't share your understanding of the holiday's nature - as I said, in my limited knowledge from this side of the pond, this interpretation looks rather non-mainstream and very narrow.

Even then, the USA today and in its history is complex enough for people to have reasons not to be uber-patriots. They might certainly be wrong, but that's something to discuss with them, instead of showing only your contempt and pity.

11/24/2006 4:35 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

isn't today's Thanksgiving primarily the harvest festival, and secondarily a day to thank God and/or people, also to abstract ideas and concepts imagined to be beings for whatever you subjectively feel appropriate?

I think that's an accurate description in general.

11/24/2006 1:28 PM  
Anonymous habib of kiwijewpundit said...

All I can say is that turkey is the favourite food of the Almighty.
Hodu la'Shem, ki tov

Turkey for God, because it's gooood...

11/26/2006 10:11 PM  
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