A Dayeinu story

In my family, we tell this story every year at seder just before singing Dayeinu. The tradition dates back at least as far as my great-grandfather, and possibly farther. What I give below is just the basic story. It can be embellished or placed in different settings: we’ve had it set in outer space, the wild west, Elizabethan England, imperial China, under the sea, and just about every other place you can think of. But when I’m telling it to new people for the first time, I try to stick to the basics. Enjoy! A Dayeinu Story In the time of the Babylonian captivity, there was a great king. He was both rich and powerful, and to help him manage his vast wealth, he had two ministers. The first minister was a gentile called Daniel. He was a mean man, with a heart of stone. The other minister was a Jew called Moishe. It so happened that Daniel concocted a plan to steal the king’s treasure-box. One day when Moishe was not at the royal palace, Daniel stole away the treasure-box and placed it securely under his bed. Going up to the king, he said, “Sire! Your treasure-box is missing! I see that Moishe is not here — he must have taken it and run away for shame!” The king was outraged. Immediately he sent his soldiers to Moishe’s house to get back his treasure-box. However, the reason Moishe was not at the palace that day was that it was Passover, and Moishe was sitting seder with his family. As the soldiers approached his home, it just so happened that the family was singing the Dayeinu song. And, though we know that the chorus is “Dayeinu,” the soldiers thought they heard Moishe’s family singing “Daniel.” They took this as a sign that the treasure was not with Moishe, but instead with Daniel. And so the soldiers turned around and went to Daniel’s house, where the found the treasure-box hidden under Daniel’s bed. Daniel was immediately arrested, and Moishe was given a royal pardon. And so you see how important it is to do the seder and sing the Dayeinu song.

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