It’s not something anyone wants to hear or see.

While enjoying a Chanukah family get-together in Lakewood, New Jersey, on Motza’ei Shabbos, I saw a message on my phone that made my heart drop: “Is everyone okay in Forshay?”

 Dear Rabbi:

Rabbi, I was wondering about our prayers. What’s with all the praises of G-d? It seems like we say a lot of similar stuff in different ways, over and over. I’ve always been taught that because G-d is infinite, He doesn’t need our praises. Instead, the praises we say are for us; somehow it helps us when we keep praising G-d. I don’t get that concept. How does it help us to say the same praises about G-d every day? I mean, don’t we get it already? G-d is great, it’s great to be close to Him, He is all powerful, mighty, eternal, and incredible, He makes everything happen, etc.

It’s one of those things that make you wonder. During the winter there can be days of resplendent sunshine, without a cloud in the sky, and yet it will be freezing. If the earth is warmed by the sun, how is it possible that the sun can be shining brightly and yet it’s so cold?

As far as the weather was concerned, this was a Thanksgiving to remember. Across the United States, the holiday celebration was impacted. In the Northwest there were powerful winds; the Midwest was hit with blizzard-like conditions. Flights were canceled, travel plans were disrupted, and thousands lost power. And in the Northeast, the balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade were in danger of being grounded. The headlines kept repeating the national forecast: “Strong winds, white-out conditions, and balloons may not fly in New York.”

 I’m just going to be forthright about it: I have weird thumbs. The truth is that weird is relative (especially my relatives), and I’m pretty convinced that the rest of the world has weird thumbs, and I’m one of the few who have normal and proper thumbs. But by majority standards, I have unusual thumbs, especially my left thumb, which is somewhat short and stumpy. They say no one is perfect, so I guess that’s why I need to have unusual thumbs.