In a few hours, after days of preparations, cleaning and cooking, we will finally sit down and begin to recite the Haggadah. We will retell the story of our persecution and exile and of our miraculous deliverance and freedom. At the climax of this story, we begin to sing joyously, “diydiy-einu; diydiy-einu; diydiy-einu; diyeinu – diyeinu!
The Dayeinu song goes on to describe our thankfulness for the many wondrous deeds and miracles that God performed for us. That He took us out of Egypt, destroyed their false gods, killed their first born, gave us their money etc… But then shockingly we begin to sing,
“If you would have given us the Manna, but not given us the Shabbos – dayeinu (it would have been enough!)
If you would have brought us to Sinai, but not given us the Torah – dayeinu!
If you would have given us the Torah, but did not take us to the Land of Israel – dayeinu!
If you would have brought us to the Land of Israel, but not built the Beit HaMikdash for us – dayeinu!”
These words have always troubled me. The purpose of our persecution and deliverance was in order to prepare our nation for its exalted task of receiving and keeping the Torah and its laws. Besides for this, we cannot even fully keep the Torah and its commandments without living in the Land of Israel and without having the Holy Temple. So what are we singing about?
And on a personal level, how could we fathom being delivered but not having a Torah to guide our lives, not having Shabbos to spiritually recharge and reconnect every week and how could we not have (or at least hope to soon live in) the Land of Israel, where our everyday living, is uplifted to great spiritual heights?
But this is where we are mistaken.
In order to begin living a happy and spiritually fulfilling life, we have to first accept that God owes us nothing. Western Civilization has deluded our thinking and convinced us that everything is owed to us. “I deserve ONLY the best!” But Abraham, our father, was chosen because he said, “I am nothing but dust and ashes.” (Genesis 18:27) God has given us a tremendous free gift – the gift life. He did this only because of His great love for us. If we would like to begin gaining an appreciation for every single mitzvah and begin being able to connect to God through every mitzvah – we need to first adjust our attitude.
So, when we reach the climax of the story our freedom; we remember our humble beginnings, we remember who with great love created us and we remember to swallow our pride and begin thanking God for the good that we truly do have in our lives. We are no longer deluded by the false premises of a society that is trying to ensnare us. We can now begin to sing…
Have a Kosher and Happy Pesach!