Parsha Tzav & Dayenu -- Prayer, Mitzvot, Unity
by Moshe Burt
(Former Arutz-7 link; http://www.israelnationalnews.com/article.php3?id=945)
This will make the seventh successive year, my fourth Pesach in Eretz Yisroel, of what has become tradition with me -- the emailing to all on this list of the rendition of Dayenu as quoted from the book "Dear Brothers" by Haggai Segal of Arutz-7.
The theme is far more timely now, this Pesach in Eretz Yisroel. We find ourselves in the midst of this WAR which we hope, will IY"H drag our deluded politicians and our disunified brethren kicking and screaming into hard reality that the only ways to security and peace for Klal Yisroel are by asserting OUR Jewish spirituality and heritage from Hashem, OUR Divine Right to OUR LAND -- Eretz Yisroel and by bringing about love, kindness and honesty, at all levels, amongst B'nai Yisrael.
This theme of Dayenu is as timely now for all of us here and in the US as it was in the first year that emailed it out or, for that matter, as it was when it was quoted in Segal's compilation of the book in its copyright year 1988.
This year, as I write a Vort on the Parsha HaShevua for Tzav, I am struck by some ideas in Parsha Tzav and how they relate to the idea of Dayenu.
Our Parsha opens with Hashem speaking to Moshe saying, "Tzav (Command) Et Aharon V'et Banav L'eimor..." in relating to Moshe the law of the Olah (the burn't offering). The commentary on Tzav in the Artscroll Chumash states that "until now, Halachot regarding the offerings were introduced with words Ahmartah, say (Vayikra Perek 1, Posuk 6) or Dahbeir, speak (Vayikra Perek 4, Posuk 2). The Sages explain that the more emphatic term Tzav, command, implies that the Kohanim are being urged to be especially zealous in performing this service, and that this exhortation must be repeated constantly to future generations (Sifra Kiddushin 29a)."
Both Rabbi Artscroll and Rabbi Yehudah Zev Segal, Shlita, The Manchester Rosh Yeshiva (Inspiration and Insight, page 167) refer to Rashi who says in the name of Rabbi Shimon, that the "exhortation to be zealous is especially important with regard to Mitzvot where there exists a possibility of monetary loss, as is the case here." The Metzudah Linear Chumash footnotes "monetary loss" in this way "Either because the Kohanim did not receive any of the meat of a burnt offering, receiving only the skin (D.D.) or because this paroshoh prescribes the bringing of a meal-offering by the Kohen Gadol...Sifra Tzav 1,1, Kiddunshin 29a points out that since the Beit HaMikdash had to make good on Korbonot which became invalid, it was necessary to to urge the Kohanim to be especially careful in matters which involved a loss to the Beit HaMikdash."
Lulmoad Ul'lamed speaks of the lashon Tzav "Command" as being "deliberately expressed in a form that can refer to both the past and the future." In other words, the commandments of Hashem are as applicable today as when Hashem first told them to Moshe Rabbeinu. Torah's laws are not outmoded. The rules governing man's devotion to Hashem are timeless. Consequently, our observance of Torah should not be tired and listless and we should not mumble and stumble through our tefillos out of habit. (Lulmoad Ul'lamed, page 105)
I perceive that this exhortation of Tzav speaks not only to prayer i.e., mumbling or racing to break "the two-hour barrier" on Shabbat but signifies observance of every aspect of Torah, both letter and spirit -- to intensify our Derech and purify our performance of Mitzvot. Our Tefillah and Mitzvot should always be as if fresh and brand new.
The Parsha then details various other Korbonot -- the guilt offering, the thanksgiving offering, the donation offering, the inauguration offering. Then, Torah mentions the B'nai Yisrael six times regarding the offerings, what Hashem takes from the offerings and regarding the inaugural offering annointing Aharon and his sons as Kohanim.
As Perek 8 begins, the B'nai Yisrael is mentioned yet a seventh time -- this time not as B'nai Yisrael, but as HaEidah HaKahal (the entire assembly). Both words are lashon for assembly and we learn that when Hashem wants to emphasize a point, he utilizes repetition, i.e. "speak to ..., saying." Hashem tells Moshe, Take Aharon and his sons, the B'gadim Kehunah, the annointing oil, the bull of the sin-offering, two rams and a basket of Matzos. Hashem tells Moshe to "Gather the entire assembly (HaEidah HaKahal) to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting (Ohel Mo'ad)." (Perek 8, posuk 3) Here Moshe annoints and inaugurates Aharon and his sons as Kohanim and dresses Aharon in his Preistly garments. The offerings are brought and Moshe tells the Kohanim to remain at the Ohel Mo'ad for seven days to learn the Avodah.
I perceive a significance to the six references to B'nai Yisrael and a seventh reference to them, this time as HaEidah HaKahal. I equate the six mentionings of B'nai Yisrael as like six days a week where the B'nai Yisrael functions each for himself, for his Mishpocha. But when the entire nation is together on this seventh day, they are as one, in Unity.
It is against the background of the aspects spoken about here; the intensify of our Derech, the purify and freshness our performance of Mitzvot and our Unity that I relate the story of Dayenu as written in the book, "Dear Brothers."
It was approaching Pesach 5738 (1968) when the first group of Pioneers endeavored to establish themselves in Chevron. Among this hearty group were Rabbis Haim Druckman, Eliezer Waldman, Moshe Levinger, Shlomo Aviner and others.
We pick up the story as the participants, "Sixty people sat down to that historical first Seder..." in Chevron.
"Another participant was the author Moshe Shamir, formerly affiliated with the leftist Hashomer Hatzair(the Young Guard). As he did with each of the celebrants during the Seder, Rabbi Druckman asked Shamir to make some comments appropriate to the festival. The others braced themselves for the minor unpleasantness that was sure to result..."
But at every Seder since then; other guests have repeated the Drosh that Moshe Shamir delivered that first Passover Seder in Chevron and so I try to give it over each year to my friends and relatives on Pesach via the Internet(MB).
"The fourteen verses in the song Dayenu (It would have sufficed) have drawn the attention of the commentators throughout the ages. Why should we imply that we could forgo even one of the gifts given to us by Hashem three thousand years ago? How would we have gotten along at all without every one of them? The truth is that this part of the Haggadah has only one aim: to teach us how each and every generation of Jews tends to settle for the achievements of the past, to settle for what its forefathers had accomplished -- and to rest on its laurels, with no aspiration for anything not achieved thus far. We, too, right here have that same tendency to say Dayenu -- 'It would have sufficed for us.' The State of Israel? Dayenu. Unified Jerusalem and liberated Hebron ? Dayenu. Wasn't it just last year at the Seder that we said, 'If Hashem had given us Israel but had not given us Jerusalem and Hebron -- dayenu? That's why we've got to know that we'll be facing many more 'dayenus' until we reach full redemption."
The book recounts that Rabbi Druckman stood up and kissed Shamir's forehead.
We tend to function, each in our own domain. We operate out of expediency -- in Davening, at the place of business, dealing with our families. We, in our autos, speed past our brother who has his finger out. We see our brother running to catch a bus and don't make an effort, on his behalf, to get the driver to wait that extra second. Instead we give our brother a blank countenance. We are not totally forthcoming and truthful with our brother concerning the facts of a business or banking transaction often putting "obstacles in the way of the blind" as we grub for that last shekel at the other guy's expense. We give and take bribes, at all levels, if it'll increase our personal infuence or our position on "the bottom line." And we are totally blase about OUR Land -- Eretz Yisrael. And each group has an agenda working against every other group.
I hold that the purity and freshness our performance of Mitzvot and our Unity is directly related to Dayenu. If our tefillah is real and genuine, if we treat our brother as we would want to be treated ourselves and if we finally recognize that the Emet of the Unity of B'nai Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael overrides the various agendas, then Arafat and the Arabs, Dubya, Cheney, Zinni, Powell and Clinton, before them, are as nothing. We will bring the Geula Shlaima, the Ultimate Redemption -- no more Dayenu.
Have a Chag Kosher V'Sameach!!!
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