When is it dayenu?
The Passover Seder is a generational event; not only with those present, but with those who were, and those who are yet to be. It’s just that type of moment in time. The text itself leads us to believe this.
One of the most recognizable elements of the Seder is the singing of דַּיֵּנוּ/dayenu. While only a couple stanzas of this section are usually sung, in total, there are fifteen stanzas. Five stanzas speak of the deliverance from Egypt, the next five of the miraculous provision in the wilderness, and the final five of being with God.
The melody of dayenu is memorable, haunting, exciting. When done with heart and spirit it lifts us beyond our present circumstance into an unlikely place: contentment.
The apostle Paul wrote, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need” (Phil. 4:11-12).
Paul’s thoughts here always remind me of dayenu. דַּיֵּנוּ/dayenu literally translates: enough for us. The usual construction of the stanzas flow in this manner:
“If He had taken us out of Egypt and not made judgements on them; [it would have been] enough for us.”
“If this … but not this … דַּיֵּנוּ/dayenu.”
Paul is sitting in a cell; yet, he speaks of being content with his circumstance. It is a recognition of the Lord’s will, even in the midst of terrific hardship, but it is also guards against the loss of joy.
The heart of dayenu is joyfully recognizing the grace of God’s provision. Every year we sing dayenu – “enough for us” – with an immediate memory of all that is pressing in on us: the present Egypt. Yet, dayenu.
For Paul, his dayenu might have sounded something like: “Had He saved me by the blood of Yeshua/Jesus, but not delivered me from this cell, dayenu.”
It is a difficult lesson, perhaps among the most painful, but the Lord has given us a yearly exercise to help us strengthen our present dayenu, to reflect on the grace of His supply, however that might appear.
But when is it enough? Watch this.
“Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us” (Jn. 14:8).
On the evening of Messiah’s Seder, Philip says, show us the Father, and it will be “dayenu,” as dayenu is also translated as “sufficient.” How does Yeshua respond?
“Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father,” (Jn. 14:9).
When it is dayenu, enough for us? When we know, and are known, by Yeshua. That is enough for all eternity.
Be well. Shalom.