web analytics
November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Reply to ‘Not of this Generation’

Examine your life and recite Psalm 100 – the Psalm of Thanksgiving. Yes, you have many things to be grateful for and rejoice in.
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

My Dear Friend,

Your letter, which I shared with readers last week, evoked an avalanche of e-mails. I share this with you so that you may be fortified in the knowledge that even though you thought young people regard their elders with a certain sense of skepticism, your letter generated respect and admiration. Perhaps in a future column I will share some of those letters with readers. In the interim, I’m forwarding them to you.

Now I’ll try to respond to your concerns.

Let’s begin by composing a dayenu song. Dayenu is, of course, a song in the Pesach Haggadah with which even those who are bereft of Torah knowledge are familiar. It is sung with gusto by adults as well as children. What is the meaning of Dayenu? Why does it play such a central role in our Pesach Seder?

HaKaras hatov – appreciation or gratitude – is a pillar of Judaism. It is so central to our faith that our sages teach that even as a man is commanded to bless G-d for the good, he must likewise do for so for the bad. No matter where life takes us, our response to its many challenges is always Baruch Hashem – blessed be G-d.” No matter where we are or what we possess, no matter if we are ill or healthy, wealthy or impoverished, our response remains constant. Yes, blessed be G-d for every moment of our lives.

The word “dayenu” means “sufficient” – if G-d would have only done this or that for us it would have been sufficient for us to say “thank you” and remain eternally indebted. So rather than declaring a general expression of gratitude, we enumerate every act of kindness in all its fine details. Thank You, Hashem! Thank You, Hashem! Thank you, Hashem! And we focus on the many kindnesses our Heavenly Father has extended to us and continues to extend every day of our lives.

In the Dayenu song we examine the miraculous time of the Exodus. Every event throughout our long sojourn in the desert is proclaimed. And the most electrifying moment in the annals of history – the giving of our Torah – is announced with unbounded joy and praise.

Some may wonder why the Haggadah is not more concise. Why does it have to go into such detail? Would it not have been more sensible to give a general thank you?

As someone who has written five books (so far!) and a column every week for The Jewish Press, I’ve learned the veracity of the Yiddish expression “kurez un sharf” – “brief and to the point.” Don’t tell a long story when you can say something in one sentence. So I ask once again, why does the Dayenu song belabor the point?

The answer is simple. Think of a bar mitzvah boy addressing the guests at his celebration and thanking all the people who are important in his life. His comments usually go something like this: “I wish to thank my parents for everything they have done for me.” What does that really mean? Does that touch anyone’s heart? More important, does that touch the bar mitzvah boy himself? Does that very general “thank you” inspire him to appreciate the love and sacrifice his parents have made and continue to make on his behalf?

Would it not be so much more meaningful were the young man to say the following:

“I wish to thank my mother for always being there for me, for giving me comfort and courage when I felt down and was upset. Thank you, Mom, for helping me with my homework. Thank you for your patience when I asked you a thousand and one questions. Thank you for allowing me to invite my friends over and making them feel so special. Thank you for never leaving my bedside whenever I was ill.”

And what about the father?

“Thank you, Dad, for being such a great father and a great friend. Thank you for taking me on special father and son trips. Thank you for coming home from the office to say the Shema with me every night. Thank you for telling me bedtime stories. Thank you for teaching me how to ride my bike. Thank you for teaching me how to play ball. Thank you for taking me to buy my tefillin and for showing me how to put them on. Thank you for always finding time for me, even on your busiest days.”

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Reply to ‘Not of this Generation’”

  1. Gisela Barry says:

    Lovely – and I am Catholic

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Ferguson, Missouri: rioting against racism, encouraging murder
The Foul Stench of the Ferguson Fallout
Latest Judaism Stories
Dante's Vision of Rachel and Leah

Yitzhak called you Esav and you answered him, then he called you Yaakov and you also answered him!”

Rabbi Avi Weiss

Yitzchak thought the Jewish people needed dual leadership: Eisav the physical; Yaakov the spiritual

Weiss-112114-Sufganiot

According to the Sefer Yetzirah, the nature of the month of Kislev is sleep.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

Though braggarts come across as conceited, their boasting often reflects a low sense of self-regard

Not every child can live up to our hopes or expectations, but every child is loved by Hashem.

Leaders must always pay attention to the importance of timing.

While our leaders have been shepherds, the vast majority of the Children of Israel were farmers.

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

If a man dies childless, the Torah commands the deceased’s brother to marry his brother’s widow in a ceremony known as yibum, or to perform a special form of divorce ceremony with her known as chalitzah.

Dovid turned to the other people sitting at his table. “I’m revoking my hefker of the Chumash,” he announced. “I want to keep it.”

Ever Vigilant
‘When Unworthy, One’s Number Of Years Is Reduced’
(Yevamos 50a)

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Ramban interprets Korban as self-sacrifice, each Jew should attempt to recreate Akeidas Yitzchak.

Dr. Schwartz had no other alternatives up his sleeve. He suggested my mother go home and think about what she wanted to do.

Why does Lavan’s speaking before his father show that he was wicked? Disrespectful, yes. Rude, certainly. But a rasha?

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

When art and evil are intermingled, evil is elevated and made acceptable.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

In BB, he said “You, my children are the angels of Shabbos and the licht are your beautiful eyes.”

Why does Hebrew refer to mothers-in-law as “sunshine” when society often calls them the opposite?

Boundaries must be set in every home. Parents and children are not pals. They are not equals.

The call of the shofar is eternal. It is not musical. Its magnetic allurement cannot be explained.

We recently marked the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11 – that terrible day when the symbols of man’s power and achievement crumbled before our eyes and disappeared in fire and smoke. For a very brief moment we lost our smugness. Our confidence was shaken. Many of us actually searched our ways. Some of us even learned […]

One of the cornerstones of our Jewish life is chesed, kindness. Chesed can only be taught by example

“There is nothing new under the sun” is as valid today as it was yesterday.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/reply-to-not-of-this-generation/2013/07/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: