May the earth yield its produce; may God, our God, bless us. (67:7)
The American Thanksgiving is a celebration of abundance. The cornucopia, a horn overflowing with produce, is a symbol of Thanksgiving. The Jewish holiday of thanksgiving celebrated earlier in the fall, is Sukkot, the Festival of Booths. Notably, while it is a holiday of celebration and harvest, it also contains significant elements acknowledging that no matter how overflowing our pantries, our existence is nonetheless precarious.
We read the Book of Ecclesiastes on Sukkot to remind ourselves that our material possessions come and go, largely out of our control. We pray for rain to remind ourselves that no matter how abundant the current harvest, next year’s success depends on God’s blessing of rain. We eat our festive meals in the Sukkah, whose fragile structure open to the elements under a roof made from branches reminds us to be grateful for every blessing. Easy times and hard times blend together, just as eating at a Sukkah table full of tasty food leaves us open to heat, cold, insects, and rain.
The one line prayer of the Psalmist is a prayer within two realms. May the earth continue to share its bounty with us, and may God bless us with an open heart, able to see the blessing embedded within our troubles. I’ll conclude with the following prayer (author unknown):
May we have enough trials to keep us strong, enough sorrow to keep us human, enough hope to keep us happy, enough failure to keep us humble, enough success to keep us eager, enough friends to give us comfort, enough enthusiasm to make us look forward, enough wealth to meet our needs, and enough determination to make each day a better day than the last.