Monday, July 7, 2008

Dayenu!

One of my favorite holidays is Passover.
"But you're not even Jewish!" you protest.
So what? That hasn't stopped me from celebrating Passover these last five years. And why should it? Passover isn't just about being Jewish. It's about celebrating the Lord's great mercy and power to deliver His people. It's a holiday that recalls Israel's captivity in Egypt, and reminds us that the Lord who delivered His ancient covenant people will still deliver us today.
My favorite part of the Passover service is a prayer known as the Dayenu, so named for its constant refrain. "Dayenu," in Hebrew, means "it would have been enough" or "it would have satisfied us."
Here's Wikipedia's translation of the prayer:

If He had brought us out from Egypt, and had not carried out judgments against them
Dayenu, it would have sufficed!

If He had carried out judgments against them,and not against their idols
Dayenu, it would have sufficed!

If He had destroyed their idols, and had not smitten their first-born
Dayenu, it would have sufficed!

If He had smitten their first-born, and had not given us their wealth
Dayenu, it would have sufficed!

If He had given us their wealth, and had not split the sea for us
Dayenu, it would have sufficed!

If He had split the sea for us, and had not taken us through it on dry land
Dayenu, it would have sufficed!

If He had taken us through the sea on dry land, and had not drowned our oppressors in it
ֹDayenu, it would have sufficed!

If He had drowned our oppressors in it, and had not supplied our needs in the desert for forty years
Dayenu, it would have sufficed!

If He had supplied our needs in the desert for forty years, and had not fed us the manna
Dayenu, it would have sufficed!

If He had fed us the manna, and had not given us the Sabbath
Dayenu, it would have sufficed!

If He had given us the Sabbath, and had not brought us before Mount Sinai
Dayenu, it would have sufficed!

If He had brought us before Mount Sinai, and had not given us the Torah
Dayenu, it would have sufficed!

If He had given us the Torah, and had not brought us into the land of Israel
Dayenu, it would have sufficed!

If He had brought us into the land of Israel, and not built for us the Holy Temple
Dayenu, it would have sufficed!

It's an incredible prayer of thanksgiving and praise to a God so great and glorious that we cannot help but praise Him for His mercy, for His deliverance, for doing so much more than that which would have sufficed. The attitude behind the prayer is so humble, and the power in crying "Dayenu!" with others assembled to remember and give thanks for the Lord's deliverance is indescribable.
I think we each need our own personal Dayenu! Instead of a list of demands, "please bless me with this, and please give me that," occasionally we need to stop and remember how great the Lord's blessings to us have been, and, overwhelmed, cry out, "Lord, it is enough!" (see Gen. 45:28).
The Lord's blessings to me have been beyond my power to express. Truly the Lord has given me so much that there has not been "room enough to receive it" (Malachi 3:10).

If He had given me the Holy Temple, and not restored the ordinances that bind families together for time and eternity,
Dayenu!

If He had restored the ordinances and not given me loving parents who honored their covenants with complete fidelity,
Dayenu!

If He had given me loving, faithful parents and not sent His Holy Spirit to dwell with me,
Dayenu!

If He had sent His Spirit and not brought kind, loving friends into my life,
Dayenu!

If He had given me friends and not the opportunity to study under professors who are leaders in their fields at a world-class university, to be taught by those who love the Lord, and to associate with those who strengthen my testimony,
Dayenu!

If He had blessed me with such great educational opportunities and not the chance to date some of His finest sons,
Dayenu!

If He had blessed me with dating opportunities and not given me a brother who is an example to me as he worthily serves a mission for the Lord,
Dayenu!

If He had given me my good brother and not spoken peace to my heart through the whisperings of His Spirit,
Dayenu!

If He had spoken peace to my heart and not filled me with the indescribable joy that passes all understanding through the Atonement of His Son,
Dayenu!

If He had filled me with joy and not given me a hope that I can return to live with Him again,
Dayenu!
It would be have been enough!

Lord, Dayenu! It is enough!

"When ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them...remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts" (Moroni 10:3).

Picture from www.inspirational-motivational-quotes.com/

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post, Amy.
    This is much like what I was feeling today: Several times today I've been brought to pray and offer thanks, but I didn't feel that I could express it quite enough. So I opened my journal and wrote down my blessings, one on top of another on top of another...

    ReplyDelete