Thanksgiving is over but the holiday season is upon us. Snow and spices, light strings and latkes. Family and friends. American tradition teaches us that this is the season for giving thanks and for appreciating what we have. But America also has another tradition this season - the tradition of spending. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us but the deals seem to keep going. Our inboxes are full of messages telling us about price drops and coupons, threats not to wait or miss out on the specials.
This week, Jacob learns the power of love. He works for many years to marry Rachel. There was no shortcut. No SuperCash or DoorBuster deal to make the work easier or the time less. But the text tells us the years felt like mere days. He was able to overcome hardships and struggle because of the love he felt and in the end, he is able to appreciate all he has - a large family and enough wealth to get by.
I just returned from California where Maya and I visited family and friends, soaked up a little sun, and remembered how great living in a town with (much) less traffic can be. I was reminded, also, how much MORE important the first tradition we have at this season is. It is very easy to fall into the rabbit hole of spending. Oh - it’s 70% off? I definitely need it!! It’s easy to get caught up in the rush and madness of savings and a good deal. (Who doesn’t love a good deal?!) But we can’t lose sight of what’s really important. Shalom bayit: surrounding ourselves with the people we love. Shabbat: taking time to rest and recharge. Tikkun olam and gemilut chasadim: giving back to those who’ve helped us grow and sharing what we can with others who need a boost.
These are the traditions I will try to focus on, both in this season and throughout the year.