We’re still recalling how wonderful the Feast of Tabernacles was in mid-October. And now here we are eagerly looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving in our home with family in about a week.
Are both related?
Some believe Thanksgiving has its roots in the biblical Feast of Tabernacles (Hebrew Sukkot).
“The pilgrims based their customs on the Bible,” said Gloria Kaufer Greene, author of the “New Jewish Holiday Cookbook” (Times Books, 1999). “They knew that Sukkot was an autumn harvest festival, and there is evidence that they fashioned the first Thanksgiving after the Jewish custom of celebrating the success of the year’s crops.”
Linda Burghardt, author of “Jewish Holiday Traditions” (Citadel Press, 2001), said, “Sukkot is considered a model for Thanksgiving. Both holidays revolve around showing gratitude for a bountiful harvest.”
Some historians say Sephardic Jews fleeing persecution in Spain in A.D. 1492 joined up in A.D. 1607 with the Pilgrims in Holland who had fled Britain and came with them to America.
They speculate that the first Thanksgiving
occurred during the fall of A.D. 1621 between Sept. 21 and Nov. 9, most likely in early October, around the time of the Feast of Tabernacles.
The first celebration lasted three days, more similar to the seven days of the Feast than to what we do today. Most of us can’t stand football and stuffing ourselves silly for that long!
God commands the observance of His Feast of Tabernacles (Lev. 23). The Bible doesn’t command that we observe Thanksgiving. But of course the Bible does promote giving thanks, especially to God, and commands “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thes. 5:18).
Neuroscience says giving thanks actually changes the neurons in our brains, making beneficial physical changes in them that makes it more likely we will choose to be thankful when a similar situation presents itself. How about that! Making the right spiritual choice to be thankful changes our physical body to bias us to make the right spiritual choice next time! Give thanks to our amazing Creator that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made!” (Psa. 139:14).
Delaying the Feast One Month
When the 12 Tribes of Israel split, and Jeroboam took charge of the northern 10 Tribes, to keep the people from wanting to go back to Jerusalem, he “ordained a feast on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the feast that was in Judah” (1 Kings 12:32).