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Is Enough Ever Enough??

The hands-down winner in the “favorite song of the Seder” contest, of course, is Dayenu. But would it really “have been enough” if G-d divided the sea & we did not safely cross it?!


Rabbi Stewart Weiss

Adar II 27 5782
As we begin the month of Nisan this Shabbat, we stop eating Matza & start to think about & prepare for Pesach in earnest. The Seder looms large in front of us, & we have to get ready for it – materially as well as spiritually.

The hands-down winner in the "favorite song of the Seder" contest, of course, is Dayenu. Each of the 15 Heaven-sent gifts which we received during the Exodus experience are enumerated, eliciting a spirited cry of praise to Hashem, "Each by themselves would have been enough!"

But would it really "have been enough" if G-d divided the sea & we did not safely cross it?! And if we survived that crisis, but Hashem did not provide us with food & water in the desert - so that we quickly perished - would that have been enough?! And if we reached Har Sinai, but stood there aimlessly, never receiving the 10 Commandments, what would have been the point of it all?

Beneath the sing-song rhythm of Dayenu lies a profound philosophy of Jewish life, so apropos for today's scene.

We live in a world of boundless wonders which rival the miracle of the Splitting of the Sea. What was considered science fiction a generation ago is everyday reality today; we can barely keep up with all the new frontiers being conquered. Jewish life has witnessed a Renaissance of scholarship in our era unrivaled in 2000 years. Jews are no longer excluded from any discipline of study or job & enjoy the highest standard of living in our history. The State of Israel – resurrected right before our very eyes - has gathered in the exiles from 100 different Diasporas & built a magnificent country with a valiant army & a vibrant economy. Jews, finally & forever, no longer must wander the planet searching for a place to park our suitcase.

And yet, it never seems to be enough for us. We seem determined to complain about everyone & everything. We castigate our leaders, curse the traffic, mock the justice system. The Right bemoans the Left, and vice-versa; the secular criticize the religious, the prophets of doom fret about the future & obsess about what's wrong with nary a word for what's right. What’s missing is embracing the now & all of its many blessings.

Some people say only when Redemption comes will they relax, smile & be happy. But these people have it exactly backwards: If we start being happy & have a positive outlook, we will bring the Geula! The traditional Pesach greeting, "Have a Chag Kasher V'Sameach," reminds us that only when our Judaism is infused with joy - when Simcha is literally the "last word" - will we achieve our true liberation. That, in a nutshell, is Dayenu – so sing it loud, sing it proud!
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