Recently I heard a homily on the Jewish concept Dayeinu, “It would have been enough.” It touched me deeply and propelled me to do some additional study on the subject.
Dayeinu is a song used by the Jews as they celebrate Passover. It is a song of memory and gratefulness. It is remembering who God is and what He has done to bring the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt. It is song of thankfulness and celebration!
Dayeinu is a Hebrew term that simply means, “It would have been enough.”
In this song, the Jews reflect on God’s deliverance from slavery, His miracles on their behalf, and the wonder of His presence in their lives. The song has 15 stanzas around these three themes.
If God had only brought His people out of slavery, “It would have been enough!” But God did so much more than that.
If He had done nothing but feed them manna while they wandered in the wilderness, “It would have been enough!” If He had only built the temple in Jerusalem for them, “It would have been enough!”
If God had given only one gift, “It would have been enough!” But He piled one blessing on another.
“It is enough that I am alive!”
Does our worship thoughtfully reflect God’s abundance? If just one gift would have been enough, we are called to thankfulness. Given the bounty of His gifts, what should our worship and thankfulness be like?
As I listened to the homily, my heart was overwhelmed at the blessings of God. When, at the end of the teaching, the pastor asked our congregation to share a personal Dayeinu, I was overcome. I immediately stood to my feet and said, “It is enough that I am alive!”
At the time, I was recovering from a life-threatening medical event. I am very aware that I might have died and am grateful to God for His grace and mercy that, today, I am alive. How often I have taken my life for granted. But to be alive … this, in and of itself, is more than enough.
I am alive, and this is enough. Yet how much more has God poured His abundant blessing on my life. It is infinitely more than enough. Thank you, God!
The beauty of Dayeinu prompted me to do more study of the concept.
The Hebrew word דַּיֵּנוּ – Dayeinu, is composed of two words. “Day” is Hebrew for “enough”, and “enu,” the first-person plural suffix, means “to us.” The literal meaning is: “it would have been enough for us.”
The song was first sung about 1000 years ago. It is found in the Haggadah, the text of the order of the Passover Seder (the ceremony commemorating the Israelite deliverance from Egypt). Within the Seder, the Dayeinu is sung after the telling of the Exodus story and before the explanation of the Passover.
1) If He had only brought us out of Egypt.
2) If He had only executed justice upon the Egyptians.
3) If He had only executed justice upon their gods.
4) If He had only slain their first-born.
5) If He had only given to us their health and wealth.
6) If He had only split the sea for us.
7) If He had only led us through on dry land.
8) If He had only drowned our oppressors.
9) If He had only provided for our needs in the wilderness for 40 years.
10) If He had only fed us manna.
Being with God
11) If He had only given us Shabba.
12) If He had only led us to Mount Sinai.
13) If He had only given us the Torah.
14) If He had only brought us into the land of Israel.
15) If He had only built the Temple for us.
Here is a YouTube audio of the Dayeinu as celebrated in Hebrew with English subtitles.
Take a moment to reflect on one of the things that God has done for you to which you can affirm “Dayeinu – It would have been enough!”
- Darrow Miller