Thursday, November 22, 2007

Turkey For God — 'Cause It's Good!

הודו לה' כי טוב
(כי לעולם חסדו)
[credit must go to habib of kiwijewpundit]
(note: תרנגול־הֹדּוּ doesn't actually have anything to do with the verb הוֹדֿוּ)

For the second year in a row I davened Shahharit this morning at the Spanish-Portuguese Shul of New Amsterdam York. No Tahhanun. Prayers for the governments. Semi-pseudo-Hallel at the end. Cupcakes and hot chocolate...

...The wonderful display of his [=God's] divine providence, “in the course and conclusion of the late war;” the happy consequences derived therefrom, by an establishment of public liberty; the recent mercies conferred on these states, by the general approbation and adoption of the new constitution, are (ALL) blessings that demand our most grateful acknowledgments to the Supreme Ruler of the universe; more especially, as we are made equal partakers of every benefit that results from this good government; for which, we cannot sufficiently adore the God of our fathers, who hath manifested his care over us in this particular instance; neither can we demonstrate our sense of his benign goodness, for his favourable interposition in behalf of the inhabitants of this land, and for every other kind dispensation bestowed both on them and us...

...From that period
[=the destruction of the Second Commonwealth] even till now, our predecessors have been, and we are still at this time in captivity among the different nations of the earth; and though we are, through divine goodness, made equal partakers of the benefits of government by the constitution of these states, with the rest of the inhabitants, still we cannot but view ourselves as captives in comparison to what we were formerly, and what we expect to be hereafter, when the outcasts of Israel shall be gathered together...

...From the foregoing, you will naturally observe the duties we owe our Creator: it now remains to point out the duties which we owe to ourselves, the community to which we belong.

In the first place, it is necessary that we, each of us in our respective stations, behave in such a manner as to give strength and stability to the laws entered into by our representatives; to consider the burden imposed on those who are appointed to act in the executive department; to contribute, as much as lays in our power, to support that government which is founded upon the strictest principles of equal liberty and justice. If to seek the peace and prosperity of the city wherein we dwell be a duty, even under bad governments, what must it be when we are situated under the best of constitutions?...
from the Thanksgiving Day Sermon
of Hazzan Gershom Mendes Seixas
of Congregation Shearith Israel, New York
November 26, 1789
(as printed in the New York Daily Gazette)

The only downside was after davening, and getting a tour of a friend of mine who's a teacher at Beit Rabban next door's classroom, I headed outside on the synagogue's porch to watch The Parade... and then immediately realized oh wait, it's a parade... with marching bands and stuff... not so aveilut-appropriate... Ohwell. Maybe next year (if the weather's as nice as it is today).

יהא שלמא רבא מן שמיא
חיים ושבע וישועה ונחמה
ושיזבא ורפואה וגאולה וסליחה וכפרה
וריוח והצלה
לנו ולכל ישראל

ולכל יושבי המדינות המאוחדות האלו


Anonymous brother esav said...

Revach vehatsala!!

11/22/2007 12:23 PM  
Anonymous brother esav said...

Also, while "medinot hameuchadot" is a more accurate translation of "united states", i've always been fond of the standard hebrew "artsot habrit" (=the covenant lands), covenant referring, it seems, to the constitution.

11/22/2007 12:24 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

actually, the Spanish-Portuguese preempt not ריוח והצלה at the end, like the Syrians, but חיים at the beginning of the list. It's even marked in their [De Sola Pool] siddurim.

i just always feel that the Prayers for the Government that use the phrase המדינות האלו should have that adjective inserted, so that it means 'these United States' like back in the day.

11/22/2007 1:03 PM  
Blogger Lipman said...

The Ivrit expression is a bit confusing with artzot habrit vs. brit hamoatzot and because of the traditional associations of ברית.

Not that it's that clear and easy in English. I think, technically, the USA were a (con)federation of states 'til 1787, and afterwards a federative state. And then you have the CSA later. The Soviet Union was de jure a federative state, de facto a centralised state.

11/23/2007 8:46 AM  
Anonymous Dave ( Balashon) said...

I'm reading Yad Halashon by Yitzhak Avineri, and he writes (I think in the 1950s) that he can't stand this "new" practice of referring to ארצות הברית in the singular, i.e. ארצות הברית הודיעה.

Now it sounds so strange to hear it in the plural...

11/25/2007 3:27 AM  
Blogger ADDeRabbi said...


11/28/2007 8:56 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...


ahem yourself, rav.

Habib's חידוש is that the כי טוב is refering not to God, but to the taste of the turkey ;-)

11/28/2007 8:59 AM  
Blogger thanbo said...

Go to the S&P on shabbat. There are always a few old guys who say "varevach vehatzala" when the hazzan pauses there.

The shammash, a sort of stocky grey-haired fellow in a top hat, is Arnie Goldfarb, who was my scoutmaster in the Ramaz troop. Sits midway down on the right side.

As for "hodu lashem ki tov". I came home from school in 2nd grade having found out that turkey was "tarnegol hodu", thinking it was a great name - the thanks[giving] chicken. I didn't know yet that Hebrew had the same confusion as English about Indians vs. Native Americans.

11/28/2007 11:05 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...


I've been hoping to go there on Shabbat for a while now... hopefully next time i'm on the UWS for Shabbos i'll be able to.

(i also said וריוח והצלה, but that's my Syrian experience talking) ;-)

Of course in Modern Hebrew they solved the problem... by calling Native Americans Indiyanim :-P

11/28/2007 11:26 AM  
Blogger Lipman said...

Of course in Modern Hebrew they solved the problem... by calling Native Americans Indiyanim :-P

Solved so successfully, the speakers of German and Yiddish took it over. :-)

Interesting history of the designations in various languages, by the way. Some Spanish countries and the French have a modern distinction of ind- vs. amerind- (how do you put an accent in brackets?), some others extend indio to mean all kinds of indigenous peoples, so the question would be if Jews (, Arameans) or Arabs are the real indios in EY.

Other languages took the other option and changed the word for (Asian) Indians, calling those Hindus instead. And some languages make a difference between ethnic (Asian) Indians and "geographical" (Asian) Indians. And I just read in Wikipedia that earlier, the whole of East Asia was called India, and India Hindustan.

11/29/2007 4:37 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home