Friday, April 14, 2023

Parshas Shemini 5783



Erev Shabbos Kodesh parshas Shemini – Mevorchim Chodesh Iyar

Isru Chag Pesach

23 Nissan 5783/April 14, 2023


Yes, my Pesach was beautiful. Thank you for asking.

However, trying to take a lesson from the Haggadah, I was thinking that the blanket statement that “Pesach was really nice”, is insufficient.

Obviously, when someone else asks how your Pesach was, they don’t want to hear too many details. As I once heard someone say, hardly anyone asks another where he will be for Pesach or how his Pesach was, and actually pays attention to the reply. It’s more of a formality.

In personal reflection however, the format of “dayeinu” in the Haggadah teaches us that proper gratitude consists of focus on details.

By nature, we kvetch with details and express gratitude (if at all) with mere generalities. But the wise and happier person does the opposite. He notes and is grateful for all the little often overlooked gifts of life and is thereby able to contend with the inevitable hiccups and frustrations along the way.

There are a lot of details and components to preparing for this most glorious holiday. Just being able to observe it according to halacha requires a lot of planning, exertion, and money.

With that in mind I have composed a dayeinu like list of my gratitude for how Pesach was. I have tried to keep my points more general, so that others can relate to the general approach:

·         If we were able to clean our homes for Pesach, dayeinu.

·         If we were able to kasher our kitchens and dining rooms  so that they are completely chometz-free, dayeinu.

·         If we live in communities where we had garbage pickup before Pesach, dayeinu.

·         If we were able to obtain all the different foods and wine necessary for Pesach, dayeinu.

·         If we were able to prepare many delicious meals for all of Yom Tov, dayeinu.

·         If we were able to enjoy Yom Tov attire, including some new clothes for ourselves and/or our children, dayeinu.

·         If we were able to prepare the beautiful Seder table, dayeinu.

·         If we were able to purchase a new Haggadah - preferably the Striving Higher Haggadah - and share, or hear, insights during the Seder, dayeinu.

·         If we were able to see and hear our children/grandchildren recite mah nishtanah, dayeinu.

·         If we were able to enjoy a lofty Seder together with our families, dayeinu.

·         If we were able to maintain our composure and not lose our patience (at least not totally) during the Seder, dayeinu.

·         If the heat was working in our homes, and we were able to be comfortable in our homes during Yom Tov, dayeinu.

·         If we live or were guests in an environment/community that enhanced our Yom Tov, dayeinu.

·         If we were able to enjoy wonderful Chol Hamoed outings with our families, dayeinu (each outing deserves its own line here).

·         If we were able to learn with our children during the holiday, dayeinu.

·         If our car didn’t stall or break down in heavy traffic to and from Chol HaMoed trips, dayeinu.

·         If we were able to witness the miracle of spring seeing dormant trees and flowers begin to bloom, dayeinu.

·         If we had more than enough matzah for all of Yom Tov despite its prohibitive cost, dayeinu.

·         If we enjoyed wonderful last days of Yom Tov with family, friends or neighbors, dayeinu.

·         If we turned on the air conditioners in our homes for the last days (thanking Hashem for stunning weather) and the air conditioning worked, dayeinu.

·         If we were able to do laundry on Motzei Yom Tov and our washers and dryers worked, dayeinu.

·         If we were able to put away our Pesach dishes with a prayer that we be able to retrieve them next year before Pesach in good health, dayeinu.

·         If we were able to enjoy fresh chometz after Pesach, dayeinu.

·         If we are able to take the inspiration of Pesach with us as we return to our normal routines, dayeinu.

·         If I had a chance to write this brilliant article despite it being a hectic time (while I’m waiting at the mechanic), dayeinu.

All this is not to say that everything was perfect over Pesach. If I wanted to gripe, there is plenty I could kvetch about. But Pesach teaches us that one can say dayeinu and be effusive with gratitude, even though we also consume marror and recall frustrations, annoyances and challenges at the same meal.

In this world, dayeinu and marror are not mutually exclusive. We eat the marror and note its symbolic message, and then move on. At the Seder our main focus is on dayeinu and gratitude.

I’m grateful to have recognized this message during Pesach and I’m even more grateful to be able to share it with you.


Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,

            R’ Dani and Chani Staum