This year’s Pesach vort is being sponsored by Avraham and Miriam Deutsch and family of Efrat dedicated lilui nishmas for his Father: Mordechai ben Avraham Aba and Sara and for his Mother: Sara Rotza bat Tzion bat Avraham Yaakov and Chaya Leah. To the Deutsch family, many thanks for your sponsorship and for your continued kindnesses.
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This year will mark twenty-three years, and my twentieth Pesach in Eretz Yisrael, in which I have emailed this rendition of Dayenu quoted from the book “Dear Brothers” by former Arutz Sheva columnist Haggai Segal, as it has become tradition with me from prior to my Aliyah.
Each year, this author tries to touch on factors, insights and lessons, learned or needing relearning, which affect the state of B’nai Yisrael — right here and right now.
As we approach Pesach 5778, it seems to this author that this quoted rendition of “Dayenu” is as vital now as it was in the first year that I emailed this vort out or, for that matter, as vital as when it was quoted in Segal’s compilation of the book in its copyright year 1988.
In the Book “Dear Brothers”, the story is told how Pesach 5728 (1968) was approaching when the first group of Pioneers endeavored to establish themselves in Chevron. Among this 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 and at the Seder:
“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 [before the 6-day War — MB] 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.
In his vort at that first Pesach Seder in Hevron, Moshe Shamir spoke about generations of Jews settling for what was and is, rather than aspiring to achieve further and seizing opportunities to fulfill these further aspirations.
But today, it seems that not only is there the tendency not to aspire further, but to actually give up, back-slide, to not only relinquish that already achieved, but to possibly project hypocrisy in the eyes of the nations rather than the light of Hashem’s nation.
What is meant here?
This vort cites these excerpts from “The Measure for Measure Haggadah,” published Mosad HaRav Kook and rendered to English by Rabbi Yonatan Pachas (pages xviii-xix, xx-xxi):
Although it is easy to notice open miracles, our duty is to also see and believe that everything that happens to us is guided by a hidden hand. Ramban tells us: “…From the great, publicized miracles, a person acknowledges the hidden miracles which are the foundation of the entire Torah, for a person has no share in the Torah of Moshe our teacher unless he believes that all our affairs and incidents are miracles; there is no element of nature and ‘the ordinary course of the world’ in them, whether in public or private. Rather, if one does mitzvot, his reward will make him successful and if one transgresses the mitzvot, his punishment will cut him off, all by the decree of The Most High.”
…Our sages teach us that there is one way to openly perceive Hashem’s hidden guidance of the world; “With the measure that a person measures, so is measured to him (Sotah 8b)…. “The hidden things are for Hashem, our G’d, and the revealed are for us and for our sons forever, to do all the words of this Torah” (Sefer Devarim, Perek 29, posuk 28). Many surprising and seemingly senseless events remain in the realm of “the hidden things” that only Hashem knows. Sometimes we tangibly understand that certain experiences are “revealed” and clearly display Hashem’s attribute of measure for measure. It is then that we are filled with emotion and cry out: “This was Hashem’s Hand.”
Rashi comments: “By the Command of The Most High”: If you attempt to say that this evil did not come tome from His Hand, that it is happenstance that it has befallen me, this is not so, for both evil… and good occurrences — Who has commanded and they come to pass, unless Hashem ordained [them]? And by His Command both evil and good come.
The Malbim (Divrei HaYamim II 15:2) writes: “The Providence of Above is drawn down according to the deeds of the people below according to their qualities. If you are Hashem’s nation, He will be with you and care for you; and if you search after Him even more, adding to your searching and thinking about Him and exerting yourself in His service, He will provide you with more and more beneficence and good. And conversely, if you leave Him, He will leave you because all depends on your deeds.”
There is measure for measure concerning our limbs: the limb that sins is punished. The same applies to place and time: punishment or reward will be given in a commensurate place or time. If one sins or does mitzvot with objects, he will be rewarded or punished with his inanimate possessions.
If groups of people sin together, they will be punished together as one group.
And so, we see, for example, the posukim we learn in Parshat Masei; “Hashem spoke to Moshe… by the Jordan, at Yericho” (Artscroll Stone Chumash, Sefer BaMidbar, Perek 33, posuk 50) telling him to speak to the B’nai Yisrael and tell them;
When you cross the Jordan to the land of Canaan, you shall drive out all of the inhabitants of the Land before you; and you shall destroy all their prostration stones; all of their molten images…. You shall possess the Land as an inheritance by lot to your families…. But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the Land before you, those of them whom you leave shall be pins in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they will harass you upon the Land in which you dwell. And it shall be that what had meant to do to them, I shall do to you. (Artscroll Stone Chumash, Sefer BaMidbar, Perek 33, p’sukim 51-56, pages 922-923)
We suffer yet today these pins and thorns of a bogus so-called “people”, “nation” — “Palestinians” because we did not fully drive out the inhabitants in the times of Tanach and, in our times, we did not truly acquire and possess the land — Yehuda and the Shomron which we conquered in the Six Day War. And we have not, in fifty-one years, acted to develop programs and financial packages to transfer these people, the Arabs — the so-called “Palestinians”, to other venues outside of Eretz Yisrael which could accommodate them. Instead, we opted for Westernized “morality” and political correctness, where these nomads have attained status of “peoplehood,” “nationhood” in the eyes of the nations, i.e. “two-states.” This is what is meant by relinquishing that already achieved.
And possibly projecting hypocrisy in the eyes of the nations rather than the light of Hashem’s nation: Just as in the times of Tanach where our Leaders and masses backslid and fell out of Hashem’s grace repeatedly, our governmental leadership visits foreign nations bare-headed and frequents treif restaurants and locales. The nations see our news and videos of bare-headed Israeli leaders as well as desecrations of Shabbos via railway repairs, via food markets and other business, transporting mass publics, etc. The nations see Israel’s government as not acquiring, owning and possessing Our Land and, therefore see us as having stolen the Land from the Arabs– when the true aim of the Arabs, of Islam is to push the Jews into the sea and eradicate us.
Not withstanding both President Trump’s public commitment and preparations to move the Embasy to Jerusalem and Deputy Foreign Minister Hotovely’s announcements that several other countries are considering such Embassy moves, again, the last line of Moshe Shamir’s Dayanu vort of fifty years ago:
“That’s why we’ve got to know that we’ll be facing many more ‘dayenus’ until we reach full redemption.”
May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them and that the expelled families of Amona be restored to their rebuilt homes, at government expense; both due to alt-leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized Yassamnik gunpoint. May our dear brother Jonathan Pollard be liberated and truly free — only upon his return home to Israel, and that the MIAs be liberated aliv aand returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of three and a half years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!
Good Yom Tov, Good Shabbos! Chag Kosher V’Some’ach and, remember: BE THERE at the Pesach Seder!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.