Pesah 5775: Eternal Moments
“But life is short, and things do matter, often more than the human heart can bear. This is an elemental truth that neither temporarily victorious nihilism, nor fashion, nor cowardice can long suppress”
— Mark Helprin
There are moments in life that bring us a deep sense of value. It could be the birth of a child, a wedding day, or a moment of great accomplishment. When we experience such moments it is as if the world, in a fractal-like way, reveals itself to us in perfection. We perceive these moments to be filled with grace and benevolence, and we might feel that our lives were worth even one such experience.
This is what lies behind the portion of the Hagada that we call Dayenu (lit. “Enough for Us”). Dayenu lists the gracious acts of G-d that brought us out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. After mentioning each one, we exclaim Dayenu! – “It would have been enough for us!” not because we wouldn’t have needed more, but because the experience — even once — of that grace and kindness from the Creator, would have been enough for us to say that it was all worth it. Each and every element of the Dayenu brought us face to face with the full meaning of our lives.
Dayenu is part of the Seder because our freedom is fundamentally based upon the idea that the world is meaningful, and thus, so are our choices. We yearn to be free in order to choose and achieve meaningful lives. When we are fortune enough to experiencing a “Dayenu moment”, we are reminded, deep in our hearts, that our lives matter, our choices matter, and that even if it is but once in a lifetime, seeing it is knowing that it is indeed enough.