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Dayenu

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Subject: Passover songs, Ma Nishtana, Chad Gadya, Echad Mi Yodea, Haggadah
Collection: Hebrew Words and Phrases, Hebrew-Language Songs, List Songs, Passover Songs
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Dayenu

Dayenu page from Birds' Head Haggada

Dayenu (Hebrew:דַּיֵּנוּ) is a song that is part of the Jewish holiday of Passover. The word "Dayenu" means approximately "it would have been enough for us", "it would have been sufficient", or "it would have sufficed" (day in Hebrew is "enough", and -enu the first person plural suffix, "to us"). This traditional up-beat Passover song is over one thousand years old. The earliest full text of the song occurs in the first medieval haggadah, which is part of the ninth-century Seder Rav Amram.[1] The song is about being grateful to God for all of the gifts he gave the Jewish people, such as taking them out of slavery, giving them the Torah and Shabbat, and had God only given one of the gifts, it would have still been enough. This is to show much greater appreciation for all of them as a whole. The song appears in the haggadah after the telling of the story of the exodus and just before the explanation of Passover, matzah and the maror.

Contents

  • The fifteen stanzas 1
    • Five Stanzas of Leaving Slavery 1.1
    • Five Stanzas of Miracles 1.2
    • Five Stanzas of Being With God 1.3
  • Text 2
  • Customs associated with Dayenu 3
  • Other versions 4
  • In popular culture 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

The fifteen stanzas

Dayenu has 15 stanzas representing the 15 gifts God bestowed. The first five involve freeing the Jews from slavery, the next describe the miracles He did for them, and the last five for the closeness to God He gave them. Each of the stanzas is followed by the word "Dayenu" (it would have been enough) sung repeatedly. The 15 stanzas are as follows:

Five Stanzas of Leaving Slavery

1) If He had brought us out of Egypt.
2) If He had executed justice upon the Egyptians.
3) If He had executed justice upon their gods.
4) If He had slain their first-born.
5) If He had given to us their health and wealth.

Five Stanzas of Miracles

6) If He had split the sea for us.
7) If He had led us through on dry land.
8) If He had drowned our oppressors.
9) If He had provided for our needs in the wilderness for 40 years.
10) If He had fed us manna.

Five Stanzas of Being With God

11) If He had given us Shabbat.
12) If He had led us to Mount Sinai.
13) If He had given us the Torah.
14) If He had brought us into the Land of Israel.
15) If He built the Temple for us.

Text

Dayenu, with transliterated lyrics and melody
English translation Transliteration Hebrew
Verse 1:
If He had brought us out from Egypt, Ilu hotzianu mimitzrayim, אִלּוּ הוֹצִיאָנוּ מִמִּצְרָיִם
and had not carried out judgments against them v'lo asah bahem sh'fatim, וְלֹא עָשָׂה בָּהֶם שְׁפָטִים
— Dayenu, it would have sufficed! dayeinu! דַּיֵּנוּ
Verse 2:
If He had carried out judgments against them, Ilu asah bahem sh'fatim אִלּוּ עָשָׂה בָּהֶם שְׁפָטִים
and not against their idols v'lo asah beloheihem, וְלֹא עָשָׂה בֵּאלֹהֵיהֶם
— Dayenu, it would have sufficed! dayeinu! דַּיֵּנוּ
Verse 3:
If He had destroyed their idols, Ilu asah beloheihem, אִלּוּ עָשָׂה בֵּאלֹהֵיהֶם
and had not smitten their first-born v'lo harag et b'choreihem, וְלֹא הָרַג אֶת בְּכוֹרֵיהֶם
— Dayenu, it would have sufficed! dayeinu! דַּיֵּנוּ
Verse 4:
If He had smitten their first-born, Ilu harag et b'choreihem, אִלּוּ הָרַג אֶת בְּכוֹרֵיהֶם
and had not given us their wealth v'lo natan lanu et mamonam, וְלֹא נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת מָמוֹנָם
— Dayenu, it would have sufficed! dayeinu! דַּיֵּנוּ
Verse 5:
If He had given us their wealth, Ilu natan lanu et mamonam, אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת מָמוֹנָם
and had not split the sea for us v'lo kara lanu et hayam, ןלא קָרַע לָנוּ אֶת הַיָּם
— Dayenu, it would have sufficed! dayeinu! דַּיֵּנוּ
Verse 6:
If He had split the sea for us, Ilu kara lanu et hayam, אִלּוּ קָרַע לָנוּ אֶת הַיָּם
and had not taken us through it on dry land v'lo he'eviranu b'tocho becharavah, וְלֹא הֶעֱבִירָנוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ בֶּחָרָבָה
— Dayenu, it would have sufficed! dayeinu! דַּיֵּנוּ
Verse 7:
If He had taken us through the sea on dry land, Ilu he'eviranu b'tocho becharavah, אִלּוּ הֶעֱבִירָנוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ בֶּחָרָבָה
and had not drowned our oppressors in it v'lo shika tzareinu b'tocho, וְלֹא שִׁקַע צָרֵינוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ
— Dayenu, it would have sufficed! dayeinu! דַּיֵּנוּ
Verse 8:
If He had drowned our oppressors in it, Ilu shika tzareinu b'tocho, אִלּוּ שִׁקַע צָרֵינוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ
and had not supplied our needs in the desert for forty years v'lo sipeik tzorkeinu bamidbar arba'im shana, וְלֹא סִפֵּק צָרַכֵּנוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה
— Dayenu, it would have sufficed! dayeinu! דַּיֵּנוּ
Verse 9:
If He had supplied our needs in the desert for forty years, Ilu sipeik tzorkeinu bamidbar arba'im shana, אִלּוּ סִפֵּק צָרַכֵּנוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה
and had not fed us the manna v'lo he'echilanu et haman, וְלֹא הֶאֱכִילָנוּ אֶת הַמָּן
— Dayenu, it would have sufficed! dayeinu! דַּיֵּנוּ
Verse 10:
If He had fed us the manna, Ilu he'echilanu et haman, אִלּוּ הֶאֱכִילָנוּ אֶת הַמָּן
and had not given us the Shabbat v'lo natan lanu et hashabbat, וְלֹא נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת
— Dayenu, it would have sufficed! dayeinu! דַּיֵּנוּ
Verse 11:

If He had given us the Shabbat,

Ilu natan lanu et hashabbat, אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת
and had not brought us before Mount Sinai v'lo keirvanu lifnei har sinai, וְלֹא קֵרְבָנוּ לִפְנֵי הַר סִינַי
— Dayenu, it would have sufficed! dayeinu! דַּיֵּנוּ
Verse 12:
If He had brought us before Mount Sinai, Ilu keirvanu lifnei har sinai, אִלּוּ קֵרְבָנוּ לִפְנֵי הַר סִינַי
and had not given us the Torah v'lo natan lanu et hatorah, וְלֹא נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַתּוֹרָה
— Dayenu, it would have sufficed! dayeinu! דַּיֵּנוּ
Verse 13:
If He had given us the Torah, Ilu natan lanu et hatorah, אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַתּוֹרָה
and had not brought us into the land of Israel v'lo hichnisanu l'eretz yisra'eil, וְלֹא הִכְנִיסָנוּ לְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל
— Dayenu, it would have sufficed! dayeinu! דַּיֵּנוּ
Verse 14:
If He had brought us into the land of Israel, Ilu hichnisanu l'eretz yisra'eil, אִלּוּ הִכְנִיסָנוּ לְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל

and not built for us the Holy Temple

v'lo vanah lanu et beit hamikdash, וְלֹא בָּנָה לָנוּ אֶת בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ
— Dayenu, it would have sufficed! dayeinu! דַּיֵּנוּ

Customs associated with Dayenu

  • Listen to Dayenu online

External links

  1. ^ Folktales of the Jews: Tales from Eastern Europe: Vol. II (Jewish Publication Society of America, 2007), p.383
  2. ^ "Strange Customs - A Different Night Activity Center". 
  3. ^ http://www.virginitymovie.com/2014/04/the-women’s-dayenu/
  4. ^ "To the pulpit by way of the classroom | NJJN". Njjewishnews.com. 2015-03-30. Retrieved 2015-04-03. 

References

  • Pianist Richard Dworsky does a rendition of the song "Dayenu" every year during Passover on the public radio program A Prairie Home Companion.
  • In Israeli screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, after the line, ‘if only we hadn't made this journey... if only the car hadn't broken down... oh, if only we were amongst friends... Or sane persons,’ the audience sings the chorus of ‘Dayenu’.
  • On the episode "Free to Be You and Me" of Supernatural, Dean tells the angel Castiel, "Dayenu" as if the situation they are in is destined to be.
  • Near the beginning of the game BioShock Infinite, a priest delivers a spoken sermon in a form identical to the song ("If he had done this, but not this, it would have been enough"), but in praise of the game's major antagonist rather than of God.
  • Television critic Alan Sepinwall occasionally structures his reviews of highly momentous episodes around a refrain of "Dayenu" as he recaps the various impressive happenings.
On his website he writes: "Dienu is like an old folk word that's Hebrew and it means 'it would have been enough'... when something good happens to you and then another good thing happens to you. What you had in the first place would have been enough, if nothing else happens to you. It's all about counting your blessings and staying grounded."
  • Independent Israeli guitarist and singer Udi Davidi recorded a modern rendition of "Dayinu" on his 2006 album entitled "Back To You" (חוזר אליך).
  • Ben Kweller adopts the word "Dayenu" in the song Lizzy on his album Sha Sha.

In popular culture

If every generation of women together with every generation of men would continue to go out of Egypt, DAYENU." [3][4]

If women had written the Haggadah and placed our mothers where they belong in history, DAYENU

If Miriam were given her seat with Moses and Aaron in our legacy, DAYENU

If the Just Women in Egypt who caused our redemption had been given sufficient recognition, DAYENU

If our fathers had not pitted our mothers against each other, like Abraham with Sarah and Hagar, or Jacob with Leah and Rachel, DAYENU

If our mothers had been honoured for their daughters as well as for their sons, DAYENU

If Lot’s wife had been honored for compassion for looking back at the fate of her family in Sodom, and had not been punished for it, DAYENU

If she had been created as Adam’s equal and not been considered a temptress, DAYENU

Michele Landsberg wrote The Women's Dayenu, which is as follows: "If Eve had been created in the Image of God and not as a helper to Adam, DAYENU

Other versions

[2]

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