Even before the Jewish people received the Torah, they had already reached great heights by simply receiving one another with open arms and mutual respect.
By: Rabbi Ari Enkin, United with Israel
One of the most beloved songs at the Passover Seder is certainly the “Dayeinu” song. Dayeinu mentions all the gifts, favors, and acts of kindness that God did for the Jewish people from the time they were redeemed from Egypt until they entered the Land of Israel. For example, there is mention that God gave us freedom, the Torah, the Shabbat, and many more. There is particular emphasis on the fact that had God only given us one of these many gifts, it would have been enough [Dayeinu!] but he gave the next one, and the next one, and the next one. Take some sample stanzas:
Had he killed the firstborn but had not given us their wealth: Dayeinu!
If He had given us their wealth but had not split the sea for us: Dayeinu!
If He had split the sea for us but had not taken us through it on dry land: Dayeinu!
If He had taken us through the sea on dry land but had not drowned our oppressors in it: Dayeinu!
As we can see, there were so many miracles and “sub-miracles” that God performed for us when we left Egypt. There is so much to thank Him for! And in case you didn’t know: The common tune that is used to sing Dayeinu is over 1,000 years old!
One of the stanzas of Dayeinu is “Had He brought us to Mount Sinai and not given us the Torah: Dayeinu.” The question is asked: All of the stanzas in Dayeinu mention a “stand alone” favor and act of kindness that have inherent value and are truly worthy of appreciation. However, what would be the purpose of bringing the Jewish people to Mount Sinai if not for receiving the Torah? What inherent value does merely being at Mount Sinai have?
It is explained that there was indeed much value in bringing the Jewish people to Mount Sinai even if nothing else would have come from that stop. This is because it was at Mount Sinai, even before the Torah was given, that the Jewish people became “K’ish echad, b’lev echad” – like one person with one heart.” What this means is that at Mount Sinai, unity prevailed. Everyone got along and everyone respected each other.
Unfortunately, unity and mutual respect are hard to come by these days. This stanza of Dayeinu teaches us to appreciate such moments and to make the effort to achieve them. Receiving the Torah is very special and amazing, but no less amazing is “receiving” every single person with open arms and respect.
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