Tuesday, April 19, 2011
I attended my first Seder Supper last night with some Jewish friends—old and new. The wonderful company, food, traditions, and many glasses of wine of this Passover feast were punctuated by one of the most moving, joyful and theologically meaningful songs I’ve heard thus far in my 47 years on Earth. Dayeinu is a song that lists the many gifts given to the Nation of Israel by God that allowed their freedom from slavery in
—gifts that brought them to a new life. Egypt
The song is simply, unabashedly and joyously grateful. Its title comes from the words of its refrain: “it would have been enough” or “it would be sufficient.” In other words, had God just punished the Egyptian slave owners, then that would have been enough. Had God only freed the Israelites, then that would have been enough. And on it goes.
This is wonderful theology and anthropology: pure appreciation for divine aid, no matter what the form or the limits that we perceive.
This got me thinking about how grateful we should be for the gift of life, and the ecosystem that maintains it. A version of Dayeinu could be penned with this in mind. Had God's physical laws only created matter and energy, then that would have been sufficient. Had His laws only created Earth, its land and water, then that would have been sufficient. Had He only created the fish of the sea, the animals that roam the lands, the plants with seeds in them, then all this would be sufficient. And yet, He created humanity—male and female He created us. And this, too, should be abundantly sufficient and forever appreciated by His creations, we who He seeks to save again and again and again from the many forms of slavery encountered in the ages and moments of our lives.