The line in the title, which I can still hear in my head, that gave itself for love of country and blog to be the title of this post, comes from a movie, which I am a little ashamed to say, I liked. Can you name it? (Hint: The line was spoken in Zabar’s).
Anyway, with that out of the way, and trying not to blog about something Jewish lest I upset my brother with more heresy, we are steadily (one day at a time) approaching that time of year known succinctly as “The Holidays.” (Not to be confused with Chodesh Tishrei, “The Jewish Holidays” whose name is just the Modern Orthodox kefirah trying to assimilate. Moshe Rabbenu never called Rosh Hashana/Yom Kippur/Sukkos “The Jewish Holidays.” You MO make me sick.)
With Thanksgiving coming next week, and Christmas a short month after, it will be my first as part of the “Work Force.” I’ve already been told by a Jewish senior associate to look out for “The Christmas Email” which goes out from the head of the department (Jewish) looking to see who can work on December 24 and 25 (which is Saturday/Sunday this year, so we’ll see if it actually comes). The kick is that it only gets sent out to the Jews in the department (which is what, like, 80% of us?).
So, for the first time, I have to start thinking about Christmas gifts for workmates, officemate, secretary etc. What’s the convention? What’s appropriate to spend? Who do I get a gift for, other than the obvious? Will I offend my officemate if I get her a scarf? Will I offend someone who sees fit to buy me a gift, but I don’t have anything in return? Will it offend said person even more if I buy something, and he/she doesn’t? Can I hide behind being “Jewish”? Does that mean I have to get them Chanuka gifts? How does this work? So many questions.
Then, of course, there are the halachic issues surrounding Thanksgiving. Is it a secular holiday or a religious one? (This is actually a question that’s discussed in responsa quite a bit. Not as simple an answer as you might think.) Does the answer change if I worship at the Church of Dallas Cowboys? Is football on Thanksgiving a religious observance, that when coupled with turkey becomes flat-out Avodah Zara?
I have no answers. Consult your Local Orthodox Rabbi (TM). Which, in the case of the Christmas questions, would be the Santa at your local mall.