Dayenu! A Comparison of Passover Haggadah Editions

Proving that had the Haggadah been written--but translated only once--it would not have been sufficient


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7. We passed through it on dry land. We are not merely remarking that Hashem took care of details. When the Red Sea split and we passed through it, we did not walk through mud and swamp. Everything was as dry as a bone and the walk was comfortable. We are really pointing out that Hashem is loving and caring. The un-gods we served in Egypt were many things, none of them loving and caring or anticipating of our needs.

8. He drowned our oppressors in it. Apparently it was very important to us to see the Egyptians destroyed. Perhaps we were afraid that so long as they could chase us, they were incapable of letting go, and we would have to battle endlessly with them. Perhaps we ourselves could never let go until we saw them utterly defeated. Whatever the reason, Hashem did drown them all in the sea.

9. He took care of our needs. Forty years in the wilderness. Protected us from sun and wind, snow and rain, snakes and scorpions. We were surrounded by "Clouds of Glory" and never really lacked material things. We had our needs met.

10. He fed us manna. This was not just food. This was an entirely new creation. A whole new species of long molecule, this was not some growth or desert cacti. The manna gave a whole new meaning to the phrase "living by the word of Hashem."

11. He gave us the Shabbos. Shabbos is priceless. It is not a "Sabbath," or day of rest. Only those who live it know what it feels like. To describe it is fruitless. A marble statue has as much resemblance to a real person as the common notion has to the true meaning of Shabbos. It is the pearl of Hashem's treasury.

12. He brought us close to Mount Sinai. This in itself was an enormous step for us. We became willing to have all our defects of character removed. We were willing to go to any lengths to do Hashem's will. We were entirely ready. What higher spiritual peaks could we possibly have aimed for? We weren't just present at Mount Sinai, we were close.

13. He gave us the Torah. Not merely a jewel out of His treasury, Hashem gave us the whole treasury.

14. He entered us into the Land of Israel.

15. Built us the "Chosen House" (Temple) to atone for our sins. Who mentioned sins? Sin is implicit in the way we are. We aren't angels. We aren't expected to get it right the first time or even the second time. We are going to keep failing. What matters is progress, not perfection. The Hebrew words chosen here to mean Temple are

Bais Habechira,

literally translated as "House of Choice." An allusion to the end product of the Exodus.

We are no longer slaves because we have a choice. The real distinction between the using addict and the recovering addict is the power of choice. And so our gratitude list ends with thanks for the gift of what is more commonly referred to as free will, freedom to choose.

Read the "Anonymous Haggadah" online.

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