Dayeinu (It Would Have Been Enough)


Had you given us the defiant midwives, spared the baby girls and not softened the heart of Pharaoh’s daughter…


Dayeinu! It would have been enough!
But many women labored in pain, only to lose their children in the end…
Was it enough?
Had you softened the heart of Pharaoh’s daughter and not opened the hearts of our Egyptian neighbors who gave us their precious stones, gold, and silver…
But what good were precious stones in a Godforsaken desert…
Was it enough?
Had you softened the hearts of our neighbors, and not led our people free from bondage…
But why did we serve lo those hundreds of years in degradation…
Was it enough?
Had you set us free, but denied us the music of Miriam’s soul rippling over the sea…
But why did the women have to dance alone, a sisterhood of emancipated slaves?
Was it enough?
Had you let us hear the music of freedom, and not revealed Your law at Sinai…
But why did You say, “Go not near a woman for three days…”
Is it enough for us?
Had You revealed Your law at Sinai, and not given us the freedom to interpret our Covenant with you…
But why did you call only Moses to the mountaintop…
Was that enough?
Had You given us the freedom to interpret Your law, and not stood by us in times of alienation and loss of faith…
But why did we have to wait three thousand years for equal access to study of our law, to full participation in the life of our people? Why do we yet wait? Is it enough?
Had You stood by us, and not urged us on with a vision of a world perfected by our hands and Yours, working in concert…
May this sacred gathering of Jewish women herald the coming of a day that knows not any Pharaoh, that judges not by gender, that culminates the final exodus of humanity from slavery…
This will surely be enough.

  אִלּוּ הוֹצִיאָנוּ מִמִּצְרִים דַּיֵּנוּ אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת דַּיֵּנוּ אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַתּוֹרָה דַּיֵּנוּ 

Ilu hotzi hotzi’anu hotzi’anu mi’mitzrayim
Hotzi’anu mi’mitzrayim dayeinu

Ilu natan natan lanu natan lanu et ha’shabbat
Natan lanu et ha’shabbat dayeinu

Ilu natan natan lanu natan lanu et ha’torah
Natan lanu et ha’torah dayeinu

(Had God brought us out of Egypt, it would have been enough. Had God given us the Sabbath, it would have been enough. Had God given us the Torah, it would have been enough.)

From Project Kesher’s Second Global Women’s Pre-Passover Seder, March 24, 1996. Used with permission.

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