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Dayenu for this Passover (5784)

On this Passover night, just like every year, we faithfully keep our annual appointment. Despite current events, the Seder awaits us—our calendar waits for no one. We find ourselves in a moment of tremendous sorrow and strife. Here in our homeland, we endure an endless and devastating war; abroad, the fight grows tougher as anti-Semitism surges, confronting us with ever more complex challenges.

Tonight (ha’laila ha’ze), we come together once more to celebrate our incredible liberation from Egypt, and to recall our miraculous escape from bondage. This festival has always stood as a symbol of triumph over oppression and a beacon of hope for brighter days ahead. It highlights one of the greatest gifts of the Jewish People to the world: the acknowledgment of fundamental human rights and social justice. Yet this year, our Seder is overshadowed by the stark realities of the conflict that began on October 7, making it hard to find moments of gratitude amidst such terrible strife, but they are more crucial now than ever.

During the Seder, one iconic tradition is our Dayenu, where the verses prompt us to acknowledge and cherish every instance of Divine Presence (Shechina). These remind us that even in the darkest times, there are still flickers of light worth celebrating. Some of the key phrases we chant include: “If God had only led us out of Egypt without punishing the Egyptians, Dayenu! (it would have been enough) If He hadn’t parted the sea for us, Dayenu!… If God hadn’t given us the Sabbath, Dayenu!… If He hadn’t given us the Torah, Dayenu!… If He hadn’t brought us to the Promised Land, Dayenu!...”

This year, I suggest we add to our Dayenu to remember that God is with us always and to trust that His miracles will pave the way for renewed peace and security for Jewish People everywhere. I also want to offer a heartfelt tribute to every person who has been a vessel for these miracles, through their commitment and sacrifice in protecting us:

If God had only guided the Israel Defense Forces, who have defended countless lives in these uncertain and perilous times… Dayenu!

If just one reservist had stepped up to defend our People… Dayenu!

If just one mother had opened her home to support our fighters… Dayenu!

If just one person had organized a fundraiser to supply our soldiers with necessary equipment… Dayenu!

If just one Jew from the diaspora had come to Israel to lend a hand… Dayenu!If the Iron Dome had intercepted a single missile… Dayenu!

If just one courageous hostage had been released, enabling their return to their loved ones… Dayenu!

If a planned attack by Iran had been thwarted, even partially… Dayenu!

If the spirit of our Community and all the Jewish People hadn’t been bolstered after a period of division, enabling us to stay united and support each other through tough times… Dayenu!

Tonight, as we reflect and remember, our chanting of Dayenu transforms into a powerful anthem of gratitude, recognizing every minor miracle, every act of bravery, every generous deed. Through these expressions, we reconnect with the enduring strength of our faith and the resilience of Am Israel. These blessings, seemingly smallhave sustained generations through adversity and will guide us toward a future of peace and harmony.

This Passover, facing formidable challenges both in our ancestral homeland and in the diaspora, our celebration gains profound significance. Each cup of wine, each piece of matzah, not only recalls our origins but also reinforces our commitment to our aspirations, reminding us of our journey toward Jerusalem. I encourage everyone to look beyond the Seder table, to extend a hand to those struggling, to those still awaiting their liberation, and to those tirelessly working for our safety and well-being.

May the spirit of Passover infuse us with renewed purpose and unity, inspiring us to transform the lessons of our history into the actions of today. May every narrative of hardship and each cry of freedom we share tonight remind us of the power of hope and the critical need for collective action.

As we conclude our Seder, let us all join in a shared prayer for peace, justice, and security for all. Looking forward to our next gathering, next year, may the Passover Seder find us united in Jerusalem, in a transformed world, where freedom is not just remembered from our past but is a reality for every member of our global family.

Chag Kasher ve’Sameach, filled with meaning, reflection, and renewal. May the memories of our struggles and triumphs guide us in every step toward a brighter future, and may we, united by faith and hope, achieve the promise of better days. Am Israel Chai!

About the Author
Lawyer, Law School Profesor, Zionist activist, and writer, specializing in the geopolitical dynamics of the Middle East. His work, published in various esteemed journals, focuses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, offering in-depth analyses that blend historical, legal, and ethical insights. Known for his ability to unravel complex geopolitical issues, he provides insightful and nuanced viewpoints on contemporary challenges in the region.
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