Tanksgiv All The Boona

Thanks to Reb Zalman for composing this insert to birkat hamazon / Grace After Meals and thanks to blogger Tania Josefa for translating.  After your Thanksgiving day dinner, please insert it at the same point where you would add for Chanukah or Purim.  Gabbai Seth Fishman (BLOG Editor)


10 Responses to “Tanksgiv All The Boona”

  1. Rachel Says:


    I look forward to sharing this with family & friends, and with readers of my blog on Thanksgiving Day.

  2. Shlomo Cooperstein Says:

    Todah Rabah Reb Zalman once again. I recall so warmly your communication of love on Thanksgiving a few years ago. May we all continue to be blessed by the beauty that you transmit on so many – ALL – levels with thankfulness.



  3. Varda B. Says:

    If you look into the history a little more deeply, there is definitely pain there.

    I am not an expert on the history and the details, but it is my understanding that first of all, the Natives, as decent human beings, did the generous thing – they fed the strangers. (They didn’t necessarily have to be ROUSED by the Almighty to do so, but the Almighty may, of course, be understood to be behind everything.) So I think that in the phrasing of the prayer, we need to hear the Natives getting more credit for acting appropriately when people needing help showed up unexpectedly.

    Secondly, the Pilgrims and Puritans repaid them very poorly, (though perhaps not the specific group that was fed). In general, the ‘invaders’ attacked the Natives, robbed them, deprived them of their homes, treated them as inferior, judging them based upon their skincolor, lifestyle, etc. Irregardless of their rationale, they took for themselves and they didn’t ‘play fair.’ And there is huge sorrow for the Natives that they were so mistreated. They are shocked by what came to them as a result of the trauma of the arrival of these strangers, despite having behaved generously. So, in a further development of your prayer, I feel there should be a recognition of the shamefulness of the behavior of the Pilgrims, an expression of sorrow about that, and a prayer for healing for the Natives, who have spent the last centuries reeling from the destruction of their traditional ways.

    There could be, as well, a prayer for healing of the relationship of the Natives and The Strangers in a Strange Land, who received from them, took, and certainly have not always acted fairly in return. Their people are still suffering, and have to process much grief and loss, sorrow and anger, and deal with recovery, struggling to retain their traditions, and acceptance of the changes that impacted them.

    As I write this, I realize that this prayer would also apply to other situations where two very different cultures have met, interacted -sometimes positively and sometimes poorly — have hurt each other, and have an unhealed relationship – for example, Jews & Palestinians. May there be Refuah Shlemah!

  4. Aryae Coopersmith Says:

    Yashir koach! A beautiful bridge to connect two traditions.

  5. Simcha Daniel Says:

    Yashar Koacho shel Morenu v’Rabbenu, shlit”a, and thanks, as I was looking for a way to connect this.

    Regarding the truth above by Varda, and the poetic retranslation by tania yosefa in Gabbai Seth’s entry below, perhaps our master will teach us, yilamdenu Rabbenu, why are we still calling them, following Columbus, Indianim?

    The people who greeted the Mayflower pilgrims were of the Wampanoag nation, specifically of the Pokanoket tribe, including Ousameqin, who was Massassoit, or Grand Sachem of the whole Wampanoag nation. That was after the English pilgrims had had a violent and unfriendly encounter with people of the Nauset tribe near what is now Provincetown.

    One more thing that might be considered, is that the ritual of the first Thanksgiving is connected to the three sisters of Native agriculture, corn (maize), beans, and squash. So just as we say on Pessach Rabban Gamaliel’s reminder “one who has not mentioned Pessach, Matzo, and Maror…” – it seems to me that we must be sure that these three foods are on the table, and that we mention them specifically. In which case, we must mention “shi’u’im, delu’im, ve’ tiras”. Thus the turkey falls by the wayside: just as we have no specific bracha for eating meat in our tradition.

    Thanks, and Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. Gabbai Seth Fishman (Blog Editor) Says:

    [I’ve received a comment from blogger Tania Josefa who says:

    “The Hebrew is beautiful and right on,”

    but she feels that the English is not quite representative of the Hebrew. Thus she has graciously offered her own lovely English translation of Reb Zalman’s Hebrew. Gabbai Seth (BLOG Editor)]

    [11/21/07 Tania’s translation is now part of the prayer itself. Gabbai Seth (BLOG Editor)]

  7. Leah Vaks Says:

    Thanks so much for the beautiful liturgical piece that transforms Thanksgiving from a secular to a religious holiday. I’ll make sure to add the Thansgiving “al hanisim” not only in my benching but in my davenning as well!

  8. Rachel Says:

    So just as we say on Pessach Rabban Gamaliel’s reminder “one who has not mentioned Pessach, Matzo, and Maror…” – it seems to me that we must be sure that these three foods are on the table, and that we mention them specifically.

    Simcha Daniel, kol hakavod — that’s a delightful drash. Thank you; you’ve just transformed my Thanksgiving. (Hm: now I have to consider how to work beans into our menu…)

  9. John Says:

    As on Hannukah, when we remember the miracles of that time, and we honor the Maccabees of then, and we leave discussion about what happened during the subsequent generations of Hasmoneans aside, so on Thanksgiving we should remember the first settlers and the hope for peaceful coexistence the original Thanksgiving Feast held. And though we know what happened next, i.e. that we didn’t live up to the ideal, we should retain the ideal of the original vision as something to strive towards.

    We should always be striving to better ourselves, and psychologists tell us that positive reinforcement works better than negative reinforcement.

  10. Prayers for Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving Day in North America « The Open Siddur Project Says:

    […] by others when this prayer was first shared at the Reb Zalman Legacy Project website in 2007. Varda B. made the following important criticism: If you look into the history a little more deeply, there is definitely pain […]

Leave a Reply