Dayeinu – or What is Enough?

Passover is a time for getting in touch with our past. We look back at the history of our people; we remind ourselves where we came from – not just in one or two generations, but the very humble beginnings of our people. We remember slavery and its bitterness. We remember divine liberation and freedom. We remember that freedom required extraordinary events such as the sea parting – and extraordinary commitment from our ancestors, who had to make steps into the unknown from which there was no way back… We remember the suffering of others, not just our joy – and that is also the Jewish way…

We ask questions, not just four or five, but dozens, maybe even hundreds throughout the night. Some are trivial and others are profound, but it is the act of asking that matters the most, for it reminds us that we can never know it all, nor can we ever know too much of our own tradition and history. So we are commanded to keep the curiosity alive in ourselves and our children.

As we remember the slavery, we remind ourselves that the world we live in should be free of that plague; we re-dedicate ourselves to the great many issues that demand our attention in this world – freedom from oppression, end of human trafficking, end of modern slavery, end of hunger –  to name just a few. Each family will ask their own questions. Each one of us will be inspired by different passages from the haggadah or by different stories of people around the table.

One of my favorite passages in the haggadah is Dayeinu. Not just because of a great melody and the singing that comes with it, but because of the idea therein: even if we received fewer blessings, it would have been enough! Just freedom, without a chance of survival, would have been enough… Just survival without the land would have been enough… Just a chance to celebrate Shabbat or to have the wisdom of Torah would have been enough.

What an incredible concept! We live in a world in which nothing is ever enough. We ‘need’ bigger cars, better homes, more TV channels, latest gadgets – nothing is EVER enough for us. The world moves forward and so must we. There’s nothing wrong with that, don’t get me wrong – if we are not looking forward, we would never move forward. However, I love the idea of looking back, at least a few times a year, and having a chance to say, “Wow, look how far we have come!” and also “How blessed we are! Dayeinu…” As we celebrate the incredible festival of Passover this year, as we ask the questions and learn the answers, may we also find an opportunity to acknowledge where we are and to say ‘Dayeinu’.

Chag Pesach Kasher v’Sameach, a Happy Passover to you all!

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