Dayenu! A Comparison of Passover Haggadah Editions
Proving that had the Haggadah been written--but translated only once--it would not have been sufficient
"Next Year in Lhasa: Seders for Tibet"
After a traditional rendition of "Dayenus, this Haggadah adds the following:
What does this mean, "It would have been enough?" Surely no single of these would have been enough. It means to celebrate each step toward freedom as if it were enough, then to start out on the next step. It means that if we reject each step because it is not the whole liberation, we will never be able to achieve the whole liberation. It means to sing each verse as if it were the whole song--and then to sing the next verse!
It's really a wonder that I haven't dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can't build my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness. I hear the ever-approaching thunder, which will destroy us too. I can feel the sufferings of millions, and yet if I look up into the heavens, I think it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again. In the meantime, I must uphold my ideals, for perhaps the time will come when I shall be able to carry them out. (Anne Frank, "The Diary of Anne Frank")
Read the "Seders for Tibet" Haggadah online.
Back to Index
"The Anonymous Haggadah" (for Twelve Step programs)
Dayenu does not mean it would have been enough. Rather, it would have been more than we deserved.
If we count our blessings, here we find 15 reasons for being grateful.
1. He brought us out of Egypt. Obviously our first gratitude is for the fact that we are no longer trapped, enslaved to substances and habits. There could be no growth so long as we were in Egypt.
2. It does not say He judged them, rather, He did judgments among them. The word "did,"asa,
refers to the most tangible form of creativity, the ultimate unfolding of Hashem's (God's) plans. Hashem is not judgmental simply for its own sake. His judgments are very creative. He did it for us, in order to show us the nature of our addiction and the power of the lie in which we lived. Hashem exposed both the Egyptians and their gods.
3. He "did" their gods. The creativity we refer to is undoubtedly the humor and playfulness in the humiliation of the Egyptian gods.
4. He killed their firstborn. This is the culmination of the first lesson. Slavery means death. Addiction means death. The worship of un-gods means death. Let this be clear and unequivocal.
5. He gave us their money. It does not say gave us their wealth, rather their money. The dollar, a medium of exchange, is a piece of green paper of little value. But it represents agreement amongst people to maintain a monetary system and all the cultural ramifications it carries. For the system to be successful, a stable balance of forces must exist in the marketplace.
The whole structure of economics that worked so well for the Egyptians now came to work for us. It was a sane, peaceful, rewarding system. The word chosen here to describe money,mammon,
is unusual in this context. One might have expected the wordkeseph,
silver, to be used. Mammon does not appear in the story of the Exodus, whereas keseph, silver, is mentioned often. We did not have to go through the hardship of developing our own through scarciity and hardship and want. We didn't need any more upheavals in our lives concerning mundane things. Poverty makes recovery difficult. We had enough on our hands without skyrocketing inflation and a forced return to the barter system.
6. He split the sea for us. We might have had to fight a pitched battle with them the way we did weeks later with the Amalekites. The Egyptians might have found themselves drawn away to fight elsewhere against marauders, or any number of other possibilities. Instead we were taught to surrender and turn our will over to Hashem. That was good for us.