Dayeinu; A template for gratitude — Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft

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I’m thankful for all the appreciation

Hakoros hatov — the obligation we have to be grateful to those who have done us a good turn — is a core value in Judaism. 

Amongst its many other qualities the Pesach Haggadah constitutes one great paean of gratitude to the Almighty for the miracles He wrought on behalf of our ancestors, and perhaps no section better epitomises this than Dayeinu, whose verses continually how each and every individual miracle is in itself sufficient reason for us to be eternally grateful, even if nothing else had been done for us.  

In my more than 25 years as Spiritual Leader to both the SA Country Communities and to countries affiliated to the African Jewish Congress, I have on innumerable occasions been greatly moved by the whole-hearted appreciation shown to me by members of my far-flung congregation. Indeed, this has been one of my main motivating factors in staying in my position. And yet, as I look back on all the years in which I have been able to assist my fellow Jews in remaining connected to their heritage, the friendships I have made and how much I have learned in my travels not only about other people, but of our beautiful and historically fascinating country, I am conscious of my own profound sense of Hakoros Hatov.

Returning to the theme of Pesach, my pastoral work frequently includes bringing Matzah and Pesachdike wine to those in areas where such products are unobtainable. Here, I am inevitably reminded of what must be among the best-known anecdotes of country Jewish life. It concerns the gentile wife of a Jewish resident of Swakopmund in the then South West Africa, who on her husband’s passing wished his tombstone to reflect in some way that he had been Jewish and accordingly gave instructions for some Hebrew lettering she had found on a wine bottle to be engraved on it. The result was that the late Walter Galler became surely the first-ever member of our tribe whose tombstone features the legend ‘Kosher l’Pesach’. Since it would not be fitting for the grave to become the occasion for perpetual hilarity, the offending words were subsequently removed, but not before a photograph had been taken to record this bizarre episode for posterity.    

Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft is Spiritual Leader to the SA County Communities and African Jewish Congress since 1993.

Click here to read Adam Zartz’s Pesach article
Click here to read Rabbi Emma Gottlieb’s Pesach article
Click here to read Jamie Kawalsky’s Pesach article
Click here to read Joel Merris’ Pesach article
Click here to read Adam Selikowitz’s Pesach article
Click here to read Simon Apfel’s Pesach article
Click here to read Elan Lohmann’s Pesach article

Click here to download a PDF of the April edition of the Chronicle


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