There are a number of secular holidays that are knock-offs of traditional Jewish holidays. For example, Christmas is set against Chanukah, Halloween against Purim, and Easter against Pesach. Which Jewish holiday do you think that Thanksgiving is comparable to? The answer is Rosh Hashanah, but it can never reach the level of Rosh Hashanah.
The reason is that Rosh Hashanah is a day of ultimate hakaras hatov. You might ask, “Isn’t every day like Thanksgiving for a Jew because we give thanks to HaKadosh Baruch Hu on a daily basis?” True. However, Rosh Hashanah is much greater than 365 separate “thank-yous”. When we look back over the year and see how each day is interwoven with the next, our year becomes a beautiful tapestry. It brings us to a higher level of hakaras hatov that cannot be reached on a daily basis. The sum is greater than the parts.
On Rosh Hashanah, we take the time to contemplate how much Hashem has done for us. Each day is connected to all the others. Each day is filled with blessings tailored for our good. If we realize how much Hashem has given us, then we cannot help but to give Hashem our highest level of thanks by declaring Him our King. “Thank You Hashem! I appreciate all You’ve done for me. It was all for my good! I love You. Please be my King! Please rule over me and give me another year of life so that I can serve you with all my heart and soul!”
Rosh Hashanah is the chag of thanks. It is a day of thanksgiving that no secular holiday can come close to. We show our thanks by crowning Hashem our King.
“Rachmana liba boi – Hashem wants our heart.” Everything else is secondary. No matter what our situation is going into Rosh Hashanah, on this day we are all able to give ourselves over to Hashem. This year, when we are praying by ourselves, it is more important than ever to count our blessings. There can be no greater crowning Hashem King than by having hakaras hatov! Thank you, Hashem for EVERYTHING! Please be MY KING!