Sunday, January 01, 2017
In her book Befriending the Beloved Disciple, Adele Reinhartz discusses the application of the concepts in the Gospel to future generations as something familiar to Jews- and brings up the Passover Haggadah.
The idea that a text might reach out to include a readership living generations and even centuries after the events it records and after the time of its implied author is familiar to Jews. Jews are enjoined every Passover to relive the exodus experience as if they themselves came out of Egypt. The Passover Haggadah, which provides the "script" for the annual Passover seder....enjoins its readers to see themselves as if they belonged to the generation of the exodus....Generations of Jews have taken to heart the obligation to write themselves into the story by thinking and writing about their own experiences on the basis of the exodus paradigm as presented in the Haggadah. One popular song that has been reinterpreted and rewritten to express the lived Jewish experience is Dayeinu, meaning "It would have been enough for us." In the traditional Passover Haggadah, this song commemorates the many miraculous things God did for the Jewish people and declares that any one of these would have been ample on it's own....The song Dayeinu in effect says "Thank you, God, for overdoing it."
Apparently this song has been re-written many times. The following is a moving version of the song written by the Hamilton, Ontario chapter of Na'amat, a Jewish women's organization that raises money to benefit women and children:
It would have been enough to bring us through the Red Sea, enough to give us the Torah and Shabbat, enough to bring us into the Land of Israel.
While we count each of these blessings as if it would have been enough on it's own, as Jewish women, we are aware there remains much to do:
If we speak truthfully about the pain, joys and contradictions of our lives, Dayeinu.
If we listen to others with sensitivity and compassion. Dayeinu.
If we challenge the absence of women in traditional texts, in chronicles of Jewish history and in the leadership of our institutions. Dayeinu.
If we continue to organize, protest, and vote to affirm our values and convictions. Dayeinu
If we stand up against sexism, racism, homophobia and economic injustice where we live, work and study. Dayeinu
If we renew our commitment to Na'amat and our other institutions, dedicated to the well-being of our people, and continue to volunteer our time and resources. Dayeinu.
If we break the silence regarding the violence against women and children in the Jewish community and in the world. Dayeinu.
If we teach our children to pursue justice with all their strength. Dayeinu.
If we care for the earth and its future as responsibly as we care for those we love. Dayeinu.
If we create art, music, dance and literature. Dayeinu.
If we realize our power to effect change. Dayeinu.
If we bring the study of Jewish history, tradition, and practice into our lives, home and communities. Dayeinu.
If we honour our visions more than our fears. Dayeinu.