Religious Life

#Dayeinu – A Weekly Letter from Rabbi Davis

Dayeinu. We know the song well. Our Aleph Pre-School children sang it at their Passover play this week. And we’ll sing it at our seder tonight.

Dayeinu literally means, “it was enough for us.” It is an example of hakarat hatov, of giving thanks.  When the Israelites looked back, they gave thanks to God for each step out of Egypt on their march to freedom saying, “if we had only gotten this far, dayeinu, that would have been enough.”

This year, Dayeinu has taken on a new meaning. It means, enough of gun violence in this country.*

Last Shabbat, Dayeinu was the chant of the Twin Cities Jewish teen community marching in the March for our Lives in Washington DC. We sang it when we set off on a 21 hour, cross-country drive. We sang it as we marched. And we sang it as we returned to Beth El’s parking lot after another 21 hour bus drive.

Looking back on the march, I too am moved to say, Deyeinu.

If we had only traveled on a bus for 2,214 miles leaving and returning safely, Dayeinu.
If we had only studied and sung, slept and socialized along the way, Dayeinu.
If we had only brought together Twin City Conservative, Reform, Modern Orthodox and unaffiliated teens and developed new friendships, Dayeinu.
If only local rabbis, generous funders, the Minneapolis and St Paul Federations had supported the mission, Dayeinu.
If we had only been warmly welcomed and fed by loving volunteers of DC’s Edlavich JCC, Dayeinu.
If only our teens had been cooperative, caring, inclusive, thoughtful, insightful, and passionate, Dayeinu.
If only our youth directors and counselors had been well professional, thoughtful, respected and well-liked by teens, Dayeinu.
If we had only celebrated Shabbat on the street of our nation’s capital, Dayeinu.
If we had only met with Washington Post columnist, Dana Milbank, Dayeinu.
If we only we had witnessed a crowd of 800,000 gather in solidarity and hope calling for an end to gun violence, Dayeinu.
If only we had been moved by stories, speeches and songs at the March that taught us and inspired us, Dayeinu.
If only our teens had stepped up to lead our discussions, chants, prayers, Dayeinu.
If only our teens had begun organizing their next steps to end gun violence, Dayeinu.

Dayeinu means, “it would have been enough.” It’s an expression of thanks. But when it comes to gun violence in this country, we say in exasperation, “Enough is Enough!”

At the seder, we recount the plagues beginning first with dam, blood. Tonight, I invite you to pause and remember those whose blood has been shed by the gun violence and to consider how you can help end the plague of gun violence in our country.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Kasher v’Sameiach

Rabbi Alexander Davis

*credit goes to Beth Jacob Congregation for spear-heading “Dayeinu” in word and dress as the Jewish call to end gun violence.