This year will mark twelve years, and my ninth Pesach in Eretz Yisrael. As has become tradition with me from prior to my Aliyah, I am emailing the rendition of Dayenu quoted from the book “Dear Brothers.” In each year, Dayenu holds a unique perspective, unlike the perspective of any previous year.
But this year, this thought has crossed my mind several times. Has anyone ever wondered what goes on in leftist, secular, elitist, “politically-correct” homes and circles at the Pesach Seder table? Does one wonder how the Yossie Beilin or Yossie Sarid families have a Seder? Whether Tommy Lapid and son Yair Lapid break matzoh, or is that chometz, on Pesach night? And what about Pesach back at the ranch with the Sharons, in the months before the expulsion, before the stroke, the incapacitation, the coma — Arik and sons Omri and Gilad? Or the Olmert home, with the flaming leftist wife, the gay daughter, the son who does not see fit to live in his native land, as if it were just another piece of real estate — not worth any more than what may be his cushy, comfortable setting in Chutz l’Aretz? Has anyone wondered how they all relate(d) to Dayenu?
Against this query, I repost the story of that first Pesach in Chevron after the Six Day War.
In the Book “Dear Brothers”, the story is told how Pesach 5738 (1968) was approaching 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…”
“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. 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.
But what of the leftist, elitist, politically correct and pundit’s perception of Dayenu? Is their distorted vision of redemption linked to a perception of secular “New Jew” utopia — a small cantoon devoid of any Torah or connection to Hashem consisting of Haifa, Jaffa and Ramat Aviv Bet?? How do they reconcile with the fact that their distorted dream is for naught? How do they reconcile with Jewish history? How do they relate to the reality that a “peace process” has always been non-existent? How do they relate to the fact that if, due to their support and complicity, the Arabs have their way with a weak, hate-blinded regime, that reality might well be ‘Your money and your life.’
Do these “New Jews” even know their history or have a clue as to why they are here. For if they knew, could they deny that Eretz Yisrael is OUR Divine legacy? If this is, in fact, their perception of Dayenu — the perception is an absurd aberration.
The commentary in the Artscroll Pesach Haggadah speaks about Dayenu in this way;
“…The bondage of our forefathers was two-fold — physical and spiritual — and so was their redemption. The physical bondage came to an end on Pesach night, but the spiritual redemption reached it’s climax only with the building of the Temple and Hashem’s self-revelation in his sanctuary.”
“Every step on the road to this ultimate goal was a further act of Divine kindness to us, a further revelation of Hashem’s majesty. That’s why we give thanks for each …favor (my word; kindness) bestowed upon us. For every single step, we say Dayenu — it would have sufficed by itself to give our thanks (attributed to Malbim).”
This does not mean that any one step would have sufficed by itself to bring us to our goal. It does mean, however, that each of the happenings of Yetziyat Mitzrayim, Giving of Torah at Har Sinai, the travels through Bamidbar, entry of the Jewish People into Eretz Yisrael through to the building of the Beit HaMikdash “represented a new remarkable miracle — …that Hashem need not have performed these miracles if he had not seen a particular purpose for each. Dayenu seems to mean recognizing the great chessed that Hashem has done for us with every gift that he has given to the Jewish people from Yetziyat Mitzrayim until now as well as the chessed inherent in the gifts yet to come — Moshiach, Ge’ula Shlaima, Torah leadership and government and an end to the current cruel, brutal, heartless, totalitarian, dictatorial rulers.
So, too, in our time the road continues for B’nai Yisrael. Entebbe, Israel’s successful bombing of the Iraqi Nuclear Reactor, Gulf War 1, The 5 1/2 years of the “Oslo” War, 9/11, growing concern with an Iranian Nuclear Reactor, and the Roadmap/Seperation wall/Expulsion machinations of the current medina, the current government of Israel … — these are physical, political road.
And the spiritual road leading to Jewish self-esteem?? It is travelled by way of tefillos and Avodat Hashem, as well by striving for the perceived “unachievable”; both inward and outward expressions and manifestations of limitless love for our fellow Jew and for our Holy Land.
But, we tend to function, each in our own domain first and foremost. We operate out of expediency — in Davening, at the place of business, dealing with our families. We, in our autos, speed past our brother, ignoring his welfare or that he has his finger out for a tremp. 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 as we are only self-concerned. 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 — protexia at all levels, if it’ll increase our personal influence, our place in history or our position on “the bottom line.” And we are totally blase’ about OUR Land — Eretz Yisrael, so much so that we continue, business as usual, even as we are in mortal danger from the evil dictatorship controlling affairs of state turning a blind eye and deaf ear to their constituency, their fellow Jews. Each group has an agenda working against every other group thereby dividing us all and letting the evil ones “divide and conquer” and try to make their absurdity, their aberration, their Ghetto cantoon of “New Jews” a reality.
And so, there is the old adage that a Government is but a mirror image of the people it leads. I hold that the purity and freshness of our Tefillah, Avodah, Mitzvot as well as our outward displays of unity and love for our brethren are directly related to Dayenu. These outward displays of unity are manifested by fighting in every way the current anti-Torah, cruel decrees of the evil regime and it’s mega-evil “justice system” in order that every believing Jew grasp the true extent of the evil contemplated against them.
As Moshe Shamir z”l spoke out at that first Pesach Seder in Chevron, “we’ve got to know that we’ll be facing many more ‘dayenus’ until we reach full redemption.”