Friday, April 18, 2003

DAYENU

Ilu Hotzi Hotzi Onu

Hotzi Onu Mi'Mitzraim

Hotzi Onu Mi'Mitzraim

Dayenu

These are the Hebrew words of a song during the Passover celebration. The whole song expresses, at the same time, gratitude to God and God's outpouring of grace and goodness. Dayenu: It would have been enough.

  • "Had He only brought us out of Egypt."
  • "Had He only executed justice upon the Egyptians."
  • "Had He only executed justice upon their gods." 
  • "Had He only slain their first born." 
  • "Had He only given to us their wealth." 
  • "Had He only split the sea for us." 
  • "Had He only led us through on dry land." 
  • "Had He only drowned our oppressors." 
  • "Had He only provided for our needs in the wilderness for 40 years." 
  • "Had He only fed us manna." 
  • "Had He only given us Shabbat." 
  • "Had He only led us to Mount Sinai." 
  • "Had He only given us the Torah."
  • "Had He only brought us into the Land of Israel."
  • "Had He only built the Temple for us."

Each verse ends with Dayenu: It would have been enough. Each verse says that God's grace and goodness would have been sufficient, if it had stopped there. Because the song goes on, gratitude grows as God adds grace upon grace.

Messianic Jews have added a verse:

Ilu Notan Notan Lanu

Notan Lanu et Yeshua

Notan Lanu et Yeshua

Dayenu

"Had He only given us Jesus!"

Has God's grace and goodness been capped with Jesus? Paul wrote:

but just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

There seems to be no end. Yet our contentment requires that we be thankful for all that has come and recognize the sufficiency and generosity behind it. Indeed, it would be enough.

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