I leave for the airport in about fifteen minutes. I’m excited to be home for Thanksgiving, and also looking forward to the bizarre feeling I get when traveling before Turkey Day. See, the other times I tend to travel are right before Sukkot and right before Pesach. In those cases I am always stressed out about how close my flight is to the beginning of the holiday, and how much cooking I’m going to be able to do before candle lighting. In the airport I easily spot the other Jews heading home for the pilgrimage holidays, and I have, on a couple of occasions, made panicked plans with strangers about what we’ll do if the flight gets in really close to when Sukkot comes in.
On Thanksgiving, there is none of that panic or stress. Yes I need to be home in time for dinner tomorrow, but candlelighting is a whole two days away. I am only responsible for a small part of the Thanksgiving meal, and I can make it as close to the meal as I like. The stress feels—manufactured, I guess.
I was talking to a friend last night about family drama, and how we typically have some over Thanksgiving, but that nothing compared to Pesach. On Pesach, I explained, we’re all on top of each other and we have the added obligation of the seder—so many specific things we have to do, so many rules. On Pesach, we can absolutely guarantee someone will have a freak out. On Thanksgiving…it’s not unlikely, but there’s always the possibility that it will be avoided.
So let’s hope for stress-free travel, and family gatherings that allow everyone to hang on to whatever marbles they have left.
Pronounced: sue-KOTE, or SOOH-kuss (oo as in book), Origin: Hebrew, a harvest festival in which Jews eat inside temporary huts, falls in the Jewish month of Tishrei, which usually coincides with September or October.