Dayenu 5784: The Hyssop and Blood — The One-Time Mitzvah and Today’s Israeli Government, Courts and High Command?

Shalom Friends;

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, for his Mother, Sara Rotza bat Tzion bat Avraham Yaakov and Chaya Leah and dedicated for the safety of the Chayalim and the liberation of all hostages and their return home whole physically, mentally and spiritually as well as for the good health and security of kol Am Yisrael. To the Deutsch family, many thanks for your sponsorship and for your continued kindnesses.

You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.

Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt
skype: mark.burt3

Dayenu 5784: The Hyssop and Blood — The One-Time Mitzvah and Today’s Israeli Government, Courts and High Command?

by Moshe Burt

Each year, for now twenty-nine years, and the twenty-sixth Pesach in Eretz Yisrael, this author has 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’nei Yisrael — right here and right now.

As this year’s Pesach vort is written, Israel approaches it’s 76th year of modern-day nationhood and the catastrophic terrorist, barbarious invasion War of Simchat Torah, 7 October continues. Our heroic Chayalim continue to battle the terrorists of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, their other terrorist buddies — including the so-called “innocent Gazan civilians” who, in fact, conspired with Hamas to slaughter over 1,200 Jews and foreigners and take over 250 hostages — while they, our Chayalim, also continue their battle to apprehend and eliminate the terrorist leaders of Hamas and to locate and Liberate the remaining hostages. At the same time, our Chayalim continue to battle against Hezbollah rocket bombardments of northern Israel from Lebanon.

As we approach Pesach 5784, 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 Hevron in the year following Israel’s great victories in the Six-Day War. 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 Hevron:

“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 Hevron? 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 Hevron — 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 this time in our history, we, Am Yisrael cannot afford to, as Segal quotes from the short talk of Moshe Shamir, “settle for what its forefathers had accomplished — and to rest on its laurels,” while kicking the terrorism can down the road leaving them living to strike, kill and persecute more Jews. Consider this mid-March Israel National News report: Stabber’s cousin was IDF reservist who fell in Gaza:

Terrorist who wounded 3 in stabbing today identified as Israeli Arab who received Israeli citizenship in 2019, lived in Gaza until age of 18. His cousin enlisted in the reserves and fell in battle in Gaza.

The terrorist who wounded three at a cafe in the Beit Kama Junction in southern Israel this afternoon (Thursday) was identified as Fadi Abu Latif, 22, an Arab citizen of Israel who was born in Gaza.

Abu Latif’s mother came from the Bedouin city of Rahat, while his father came from Gaza. He lived in Gaza until the age of 18 and received Israeli citizenship in 2019. His parents currently reside in Gaza.

Abu Latif is the cousin of Ahmed Abu Latif, an IDF soldier who fell in battle in Gaza. Ahmed enlisted in the reserves and was killed in a building collapse in Gaza.

Three people were wounded in the attack this afternoon. One of the victims, a man in his 50s, is in critical condition.

It still boggles this author’s mind how thousands of people could be gathered mere kilometers from the Gaza border for a secular concert on the Yom Tov of Simchat Torah.

This author draws parallels which assuredly couldn’t be a “Chiddush” of Moshe Burt alone. These parallels being between our liberation from persecution and bondage in Mitzrayim and modern-day Israel independence, nationhood and sovereignty.

Just as Hashem brought about the liberation of Am Yisrael from Mitzrayim (Egypt), so too HaKodesh Borchu brought about the Jews’ return to their Homeland — Eretz Yisrael – and we have watched, and continue to watch, derech hateva; the political, judicial, diplomatic, military machinations of 76 years ago through to the discord of this very day.

Particularly notable, in light of this two-front war are the apparent military machinations which led to the catastrophic, murderous mass terrorism of 7 October: the reports of neglect by high command generals who allegedly intimidated and threatened with court martial proceedings subordinates who were reporting on Hamas preparations for war, and who allegedly bypassed reporting the imminence of war to the current prime minister as well as a rumored possibility of conspiracy by the generals and possibly a former prime minister regarding using the war as a tool for overturning the current government and prime minister. Also of note is the military’s glass ceiling, as they sit in the Kiriya — away from the fields of battle — of preventing religious prospectives, be they dati leumim or chareidim, from achieving the rank of General.

The Sochaczever Rebbe, Rabbi Shmuel Bornstein, z”l cites a posuk from Sefer Shemos and discussion in providing a poignant point which seems pertinent, on two levels, and worth internalizing by today’s Israeli political, judicial, diplomatic, military components regarding the hyssop and blood in his sefer “Shem Mishmuel,” pages 222 – 223) :

“Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the bowl, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with some of the blood from the bowl.” (The Sochaczever Rebbe citing Sefer Shemos, Perek 12, posuk 22)

This was a one-time command. Only the Jews in Mitzrayim had to use the hyssop and blood in this way. Why was this Mitzvah particularly applicable to that first pesach and to no subsequent occasion?

[His] “holy father suggested the following idea”: Chazal describe the situation of the Jews in Egypt with the phrase “like a fetus inside its mother.” (The Sochaczever Rebbe citing Midrash Tehillim 107:4) Just as a fetus is entirely dependent on its mother for everything, so too, Yisrael was completely dependent on the Mitzriyim. ( (The Sochaczever Rebbe citing an essay on Parshat Shemos, “Pharaoh’s Cure, Yisrael’s Salvation) They were not noticeable as a separate entity and were completely humbled and controlled by Pharaoh and his nation. In the moments before their deliverance, Hashem commanded them to raise themselves from their humility and to focus on His service. Thus He directed them to take the bundle of hyssop (literally, “to lift up”) in a symbolic gesture, indicating their desire to lift themselves out of their slavery and attach themselves to Hashem. In subsequent years, once Yisrael were already free, they had no need for this aspect of the Avodah of Pesach.

[Shem Mishmuel] would… add [his] own interpretation to this. When someone offers a Korbon, the component parts of it represent the donor and his attempt to draw close to Hashem. First, the blood of the animal, its “soul” is poured around the Mizbeiyach. Then its limbs, its body, are burnt on it. These… represent the striving of the soul and the body of the donor to sacrifice themselves, to draw near to Hashem.

Rabbeinu Tam explains that these two parts of the person, the physical and the spiritual, each have their own inclinations. The soul originates in the exalted supernal worlds and, therefore, has a tendency to seek honor and become proud. The body, on the other hand, by its nature, has coarse, physical drives and seeks material pleasures. The soul can cause a person to become haughty and arrogant, but the body, for all of its physical cravings, has no aspirations in that direction, so a suitable harmony is achieved.

The Jews in Mitzayim were not yet at a level where they were able to offer their bodies to the service of Hashem. To reach this exalted level, they needed to purify themselves for seven more weeks, until they lost all traces of phtsical dross at Har Sinai. (The Sochaczever Rebbe citing Shabbos, 146a) Therefore,in Mitzrayim, they didn’t offer the body of the lamb, just the blood, symbolizing their souls, which were fit to draw close to Hashem. But, as… explained, the soul, without the restraint of the body, has a tendency to arrogance. Therefore, when they offered the blood (i.e. their souls), Hashem commanded them to dip into it a bunch of hyssop. Hyssop is characterized as the lowliest of all plants. (The Sochaczever Rebbe citing Rashi on Sefer Bamidbar, Perek 19, posuk 22) This would have the effect of neutralizing any arrogance that may have crept into their service of Hashem.

However, when Pesach came around again, Yisrael had sanctified their bodies to the extent that they, too, could be included in the avodah. This provided the correct synthesis of soul and body, thus obviating the need for the hyssop. Hence we, at the Seder, have no need for it.

This author wonders about the both the physical and spiritual purity of Israeli Government, Courts and High Command and the effects of their arrogance and lusts for power, particularly in their conduct of this Gaza war, and all previous wars and conflicts in Gaza against Hamas and their terrorist side-kicks, as well as against Hezbollah’s rocket bombardment of northern Israel, and possible terrorist plans for mass attacks, Chas V’Challila, by forces of the PA and Hamas against the towns in our biblical lands in Yehuda and the Shomron.

Since we don’t have the Beit Hamikdash or the Mizbeiyach and therefore, cannot offer Korbonot — the bodies and their blood, and since the blood and the hyssop was a one-time Mitzvah, it seems that all levels Israeli Governance: from the prime minister, to his appointed ministers, to the judges at all levels of the judiciary through to the Supreme Court, and to the High Command of the military; responsible for the decision-making bearing on the security of us all and bearing on proper alignment of forces to the in time of war and conflict against us — All need to look within themselves: into the physicality and into the spirituality of their thoughts, words and actions and do Big-Time Teshuva and, thus purify themselves.

May it be that our Chayalim emerge totally victorious, in spite of the machinations of their High Command — in eradicating from the face of the earth Hamas, their terrorist buddies and the so-called “innocent civilians” of Gaza who joined with Hamas in their murderous deeds, and that the Chayalim return home whole — physically, mentally and spiritually and that the Chayalim Liberate and bring home all remaining hostages. And may we see the restoration of true unity within Am Yisrael.

May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently re-settled in Gush Katif, once the IDF, by the Yad Hashem, destructs and eradicates the wild beasts of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, all other terror entities, and if necessary Iran, and that our brethren be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them, that the thrice expelled families of Amona be restored to their rebuilt homes and the oft-destroyed Yeshiva buildings in Homesh be rebuilt, as well as the buildings of Yishuv Elchanan, all at total government expense. May our Chayalim return from battle unharmed — physically, mentally and spiritually and may all of the hostages brutally taken by the wild beasts of Hamas be liberated and brought home to their families. Baruch Hashem that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard is now in his fourth year at home in Eretz Yisrael and continues in a new chapter in his life. May Esther Yocheved bat Yechiel Avraham have an aliyah in Shemayim and may her spirit and memory continue to lift Jonathan to at least 120 years. May the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem — as with the return in April, 2019, via Russia, of the remains of Zachariah Baumel, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of nine 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 see, in 5784, the REAL Jews from the Ukraine and Russia as well as the US and Canada, the real Jews via matrilineal descent, make Aliyah enmass — via thorough review by Misrad HaPanim. And may we soon and finally see the total end to the Communist Chinese Wuhan Lab corona virus pandemic and all like viruses and variants. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nei 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 Shabbos, Good Yom Tov! 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.