“because I have enough…”
Okay, now, if you’re anything like me, you’re going to find this post tantalizing, but not satisfying. I stumbled on this concept a couple of years ago, and ever since then, I’ve occasionally done some research, and come away understanding just a bit more. But there’s still more to understand.
Part of the problem is, that this concept is Jewish, and I’m not Jewish, so there’s that…
So, the word of the day is
The word itself means “it would have been enough” or “it would have sufficed” and I came across it at church last year. Our church was celebrating a Christian version of the Seder dinner, which I find so fascinating.
Briefly, a Seder dinner is what the Jews have to celebrate Passover. It consists of very specific foods, each one representing an important lesson or memory ~ including…
wine ~ which represents joy and happiness
saltwater ~ representing the tears of ancestors
matzoh bread ~ unleavened bread which, when broken, symbolizes the parting of the Red Sea
bitter herbs ~ symbolizing the bitterness and harshness of the slavery they endured
charoset ~ a fruit and nut combination, in a paste consistency, which represents the mortar used by the Jewish slaves to build in Egypt
lamb ~ remembering the lamb offered in the temple
The Christian version uses most of the same foods, with some different meanings. There’s also a script, for lack of a better word, with the prayers that are spoken at specific times during the meal.
So, all that to say this: part of the script ~ the Haggadah ~ includes a song called the Dayenu. It’s a wonderful celebration of what God did for the Hebrews in the first Passover, written about in the book of Exodus. There are five stanzas about being delivered from slavery, five stanzas of miracles, and five stanzas about being with God.
It goes something like this…
If He had brought us out from Egypt, and had not carried out judgements against them ~ Dayenu, it would have been enough!
If He had carried out judgements against them, and not against their idols ~ Dayenu, it would have been enough!
If He had destroyed their idols… Dayenu!
If He had slain their firstborn… Dayenu!
If He had given us their wealth… Dayenu!
If He had split the sea for us… Dayenu!
If He had taken us through on dry land… Dayenu!
If He had drowned our oppressors in the sea… Dayenu!
If He had supplied our needs in the desert for 40 years… Dayenu!
If He had fed us manna… Dayenu!
If He had given us the Shabbat (the Sabbath)… Dayenu!
If He had brought us before Mount Sinai… Dayenu!
If He had given us the Torah… Dayenu!
If He had brought us into the land of Israel and not built the temple for us ~ Dayenu! It would have been enough!
Beautiful, isn’t it? And the lesson is unmistakeable. He has done so much for us ~ for me; for you. And still we want more. We hope for more, or even expect it.
But what He has done… Dayenu! It should have been enough.