web analytics
September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



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
Candy-laden bulletin board greets children on their first day of school in the lobby of an Efrat apartment building. Sept. 1, 2014.
The message reads:
"To our dear children ... may it be a year of fun and happiness in your studies." 
Did You Know September 1 is an Israeli National Holiday?
Latest Judaism Stories
shofar+kotel

If you had an important court date scheduled – one that would determine your financial future, or even your very life – you’d be sure to prepare for weeks beforehand. On Rosh Hashanah, each individual is judged on the merit of his deeds. Whether he will live out the year or not. Whether he will […]

The_United_Nations_Building

It is in the nature of the Nations of the World to be hostile towards the Jewish People.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

First, how could a beis din of 23 judges present a guilty verdict in a capital punishment case? After all, only a majority of the 23 judges ruled in favor of his verdict.

Of paramount importance is that both the king and his people realize that while he is the leader, he is still a subject of God.

Untimely News
‘A Mourner Is Forbidden To Wear Shoes…’
(Mo’ed Katan 20b)

Question: The Gemara in Berachot states that the sages authored our prayers. Does that mean we didn’t pray beforehand?

Menachem
Via Email

When a person feels he can control the destiny of other people, he runs the risk of feeling self-important, significant, and mighty.

Needless to say, it was done and they formed a great relationship as his friend and mentor. He started attending services and volunteered his time all along putting on tefillin.

He took me to a room filled with computer equipment and said, “You pray here for as long as you want.” I couldn’t believe my ears.

On Friday afternoon, Dov called Kalman. “Please make sure to return the keys for the car on Motzaei Shabbos,” he said. “We have a bris on Sunday morning and we’re all going. We also need the roof luggage bag.”

On Chol HaMoed some work is prohibited and some is permitted. According to some opinions, the work prohibition is biblical; according to others, it’s rabbinical.

If there is a mitzvas minuy dayanim in the Diaspora, then why is there a difference between Israel and the Diaspora in the number of judges and their distribution?

Judaism is a religion of love but also a religion of justice, for without justice, love corrupts.

The time immediately preceding Mashiach’s arrival is likened to the birth pangs of a woman in labor.

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

The time immediately preceding Mashiach’s arrival is likened to the birth pangs of a woman in labor.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

If we regard pain and suffering as mere coincidence, we will feel no motivation to examine our lives

What does Hashem want of us? That we should protect each other and the awesome heritage He gave us.

Gratitude=Great Attitude. Appreciation is always appropriate.

The two words “thank you” have no time expiration; even if spoken after many years they’re as potent as ever.

Let us shake the heavens. Let us not stop until our boys and all our people are liberated from bondage.

Loving-kindness can cure the anger and bitterness in our poisonous world.

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: