Enough to Form a Nation By Uri Goffin


       The section of the Haggadah in which a list of events appears, each followed by the word ונייד, it would have been enough, seems, at first glance, to be unrealistic and difficult to believe.  The Haggadah enumerates the steps of the redemption from Egypt from the actual exodus to the construction of the Beis HaMikdash.  At the end of each step, the word דיינו is written, implying that it would have been enough if only this step had been performed.  The reason given by most commentators for saying ונייד in the first place is to give thanks to Hashem for each of these steps of redemption individually.  This section is thus an example of Hakaras HaTov, recognizing the good that someone else has done and appreciating it.

            The Malbim asks, however, how we could possibly say that we would be satisfied without the Torah, or Shabbos, or the Land of Israel, or any of the things listed there about which we say דיינו.  How can we say that "it would have been enough" even without any of these things?  He answers by saying that for any one of the events stated in the דיינו, we would be required to give infinite thanks to Hashem.  We should therefore be even more grateful that Hashem has given us all these gifts.

            This section of the Haggadah teaches us a very powerful lesson.  After listing all the "דיינו"s, the Haggadah mentions that Hashem Himself actually performed all of these wonderful acts and miracles.  The way of Hashem generally is not to do overt miracles, ניסים גלויים, but rather to perform, ניסים נסתרים, hidden miracles.  However, the exodus from Egypt, and the establishment of Bnai Yisrael as a nation, was accomplished with a tremendous number of overt miracles, such as the ten plagues, the separation of the Red Sea, the giving of the Torah, and the other miracles which appear on this list.  Hashem stretched out His arm and took the developing nation of Yisrael out by performing numerous supernatural acts.  This redemption was thus a case of Hashem acting without human initiation;  He obviously wanted the people to notice  the great efforts He exerted in order to form these people into a nation.

            HaRav Joseph B. Soloveitchik has quoted his grandfather, Rav Chaim of Brisk, as developing the well known idea that the purpose of Creation is for man to do Hashem's will.  Hashem first tried to propel man into doing His will through the initial commandment of "וכבשוה," challenging man to conquer the world (בראשית א:ח'), and the commandment of לעבדה ולשמרה"," urging man to work and protect the earth (שם ב:ט"ו).  When these commandments failed to produce the type of people Hashem wanted, He gave the  שבע מצוות בני נח, the seven Noachide laws but these failed to produce the desired results as well.  Hashem then decided to give the descendants of Avraham 613 commandments; they would then become the role models for the world.  In the Bris Bein HaBesarim, Avraham was thus told that he would be an אב המון גוים, the father of many nations (שם י"ז;ד'-ה'), to which he (and his descendants) would impart the proper philosophy.  To accomplish the mission of being role models for the world, however, we first had to become a nation ourselves.

            If Hashem were indeed to have performed only some of these miracles listed in the "דיינו," it is true that we would perhaps have reaped the benefits of them individually, as humans.  But Hashem did all of the actions mentioned in דיינו"" in order to form us into a nation of believers in His greatness and power.  Upon seeing the efforts exerted by Hashem in order to develop us as a nation, we can better understand our awesome obligation as a nation to believe in Hashem and influence others.  As a result, we should constantly strive to be as perfect and wholesome as we can be.  We should try to be the best role models for the world that we possibly can, and, for being given the ability to do this, we should display Hakaras HaTov, we should give thanks.

Charoses by Rabbi Michael Taubes

Remembering At Night by Zvi Adler