YomTov, vol. III # 4
Would it Have Sufficed?
by Rabbi Yehudah Prero
In the "song" Dayenu, we seem to say some odd things, like 'If G-d has split
the sea for us and had not crossed us through on dry land, it would have
sufficed." How could this have sufficed? We would not be alive! What does
Dayenu (it would have sufficed) mean?
The Malbim explains that the recitation of Dayenu serves a very important
purpose. When we reach Dayenu, we have completed analyzing all the verses
that speak about our life in Egypt. We are finished with this part of our
telling over what happened when we left Egypt. At this point, the next
appropriate step is to thank G-d for saving us. The way the nation of Israel
usually does this is by saying Hallel - praises of Hashem.
Before we start saying Hallel, we want to be sure that we truly appreciate
all that Hashem did for us. After all, G-d is not interested in empty and
meaningless expressions of thanks. Dayenu serves the purpose of reminding us
of all that Hashem did for us. The truth is that Hashem deserves thanks for
each one of these steps individually, even if the next event had not
occurred. Yes, if G-d had 'merely' split the sea for us and not brought us
through on dry land, G-d would deserve our thanks. Would it have been enough
in terms of our development as a nation? Probably not. However, that is not
what Dayenu - it would have sufficed, means. Dayenu means that this act alone
would have sufficed to bring upon us the obligation to thank G-d!
When we say Dayenu, we thank Hashem for 15 different acts of kindness he
performed for us. Each one alone is enough to warrant our great thanks and
praise. How much more so are we to praise Hashem when we are presented with
these 15 acts in the aggregate! After reading through Dayenu, we should most
certainly be inspired so that when we arrive at the praises of Hashem in the
Seder, we say these praises sincerely, and with a full, happy and thankful
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For questions, comments, and topic requests, please write to Rabbi Yehudah Prero.