May 15, 2010

Dayenu & Yom Yerushalayim

Had God led us to Mount Sinai and not given us the Torah,
Dayenu! (it would have been enough for us.)

This is a line most of us will remember from the Haggada on Seder night.
Many of us will have puzzled at the sense of it.

After all, the whole purpose of the chosen people was that they received the Torah and became the so-called ‘people of the book’.

So how could it possibly have been ‘Dayenu’ enough for our people to have arrived at Mt Sinai but not received the Torah?

I think I found an answer in newsreels of the re-capture of the Wailing Wall during the Six Day War of 1967.

Totally irreligious Jews – without a shred of Jewish upbringing – bursting into tears at the sight and touch of the Kotel; that last remnant of the Jewish Temple.

By accident or design, they have never accepted the Torah.

And yet, they tremble with emotion at the sight and touch of a place that seems to speak to their history and their destiny all at once. To be part of a special nation and its 2,000 year struggle for survival and the return to their homeland against impossible odds.

I think this must be the Haggada’s meaning of Mt Sinai being sufficient in itself.
And the modern-day manifestation of that place is the surviving Western Wall of the ancient temple.

It is a magnet to all Jews worldwide – regardless of their religious observance or understanding. It is what binds all of us together. And we know that the only times in history that our people has been defeated was when they fought amongst themselves.

That is why the Arabs are so determined to deny us access to this site and continue to repudiate all Jewish rights or historical connection to the Old City. It is also why Jewish visitors to the temple mount are forbidden to even move their lips. Such is the degree of fear amongst our enemies.

They, at least, fully understand the empowerment this place gives to our people.

It’s a pity so many of our people – particularly in the USA – have yet to discover it.


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