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An olah’s Dayenu

You gave us the dream of return, the clarity to leave, the strength to cross oceans, the aleph-bet, family and a home -- dayenu!
The illegal immigration ship Exodus 1947 (The Palmach Photo Gallery)
The illegal immigration ship Exodus 1947 (The Palmach Photo Gallery)

Look! Our kids are growing up and our dreams are floating up, almost out of reach –

If You had given us only dreams of returning, that would have been enough

Quick! Grab them now, gather them from the corners of the Earth – we no longer want to be strangers in this strange land –

If you had given us the clarity to leave, that would have been enough.

Hurry! We need to start planning our midnight flight – this Land has waited thousands of years and it will wait no longer –

If You had given us the strength to cross oceans, that would have been enough.

See! Here are Jewish schools, Torah is breathing here again; again the words of the Prophets flood the streets, this time with hymns of welcome –

If You had given us only the ability to connect to our heritage, that would have been enough.

Stop! Leave those heavy things behind. You are being reborn

while giving birth to the realization of a miracle and that big bed won’t fit in the room of fulfilled dreams –

If You had given us the freedom to live here, that would have been enough.

Look! Here are others, coming from the four corners of the Earth, all ages and in all stages of life. Like angels appearing in your most desperate hour they materialize with holy gifts: mattresses, appliances, chairs to support you, warm meals with shared experiences and fortitude-

If You had provided those who live here with the ability to help, that would have been enough.

Listen! The sea has split and spit you out with your matzah and flattened expectations. Hear that hum? It’s the sound of a Land that has borne desolation, destruction, and the death of dreams – it’s calling you, finally ready for your return.

If You had given us just the ability to recover and flourish, that would have been enough.

It’s happening! The Land is adorning herself with pomegranates, date trees, majestic mountains, playgrounds and ancient mikvaot in your own backyard –

If You had given us nurturing nature and our history to witness today, that would have been enough.

Learn! Your living language has been resurrected after millenia of being stuffed into dusty tomes. Shake off your inhibitions, allow the mystical alphabet to sink in and arrange itself into words of conversation and thanks –

If You had given us our aleph-bet with all its wisdom, that would have been enough.

Stop! Don’t turn away. They warned you that it wouldn’t be easy, but here is your family, though they argue – your family, though they come from another foreign land – your family – and your humble, progressing, stubborn, precious, miraculous Home.

If You had given us family and a home – oh wait, You did.

About the Author
Born in California, Rochel spent her formative years in Baltimore, MD. She grew up in an open home with as many varied guests as personalities and stories. After getting married, she moved to Brooklyn, NY, where she tried to learn as much from the busy city as she could while obtaining a Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Twelve years and four children later, she and her family took the leap and made aliyah in 2019. See her other work on aish.com, Nashim Magazine, and Hevria, as well as her blog about travel, aliyah, and other topics: https://livingonup.wordpress.com/
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