Thanksgiving at the Temple
It is the month of Thanksgiving. It is also the month of Gates. “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him and bless His name” is the fourfold call of Psalm 100:4.
Our thanksgiving is connected with the Temple gates. In biblical times, people streamed toward worship through Temple gates. They passed through its portals singing the Psalms of Ascent and other songs of thanksgiving. Inside the sacred precinct, people heard the sound of thanksgiving. The joyful tumult of voices rising skyward. Kindred spirts rejoicing. This was the melody of praise.
The Hebrew term for thanksgiving is b’todah, literally, “in thanks.” Todah comes from yadah, a word which contains two parallel ideas. One involves shooting an arrow toward a target. The second is the act of lauding or praising the Almighty’s name. Yadah springs from the word yad or hand. While our hand is busy preparing for America’s Thanksgiving, we can fill our thoughts with biblical praise. If some aspects of the Thanksgiving holiday are less than ideal, we can ponder how thanksgiving long ago brought people through His gates. We can savor that long-ago joy. Sing the songs. Hear the celebration. Repeat the blessings. This is not seventeenth century mirth; but first century mirth at the Temple.
The Most High is seeking the offerings of a worshipful and thankful heart. He is listening for the spoken blessings. These offerings endure far beyond November. They infuse the Olam Haba – the World to Come. Thanksgiving and praise are the only sacrifices which will endure according to the Midrash. In the future, every sacrifice, except thank offerings, will be abolished. Praise, however, will never be abolished (Leviticus Rabbah 9). Giving thanks and blessing Him is our acceptable altar sacrifice.
Hidden Treasures of Kingdom Prayer describes sacrifice at the Altar of Incense and teaches how to compose blessing prayers.