Dayenu – From Exodus to Contemporary Israel

Dayenu – From Exodus to Contemporary Israel   
Ken Stein, Center for Israel Education, Sixth Edition, April 2020 ©

Sung or recited on Passover, the original Dayenu is reflective appreciation of 14 significant events specifically wrapped around the exodus from Egypt. The Dayenu presented here chronicles Jewish history from Exodus to the present day. This history can be read individually or responsively. Different moments and personalities in Jewish history could have been included. Hebrew and Spanish versions of Dayenu are available.

Ken Stein, April 5, 2020

If all we had done was …..to accept a belief in one G-d and the commandments           Dayenu 

  • ……to embrace the belief in one G-d
  • ……to outlive Pharaoh’s wrath 
  • …… to accept the covenants with G-d
  • ……to leave Egypt as tribes  
  • ……to accept the law and keep the Sabbath
  • ……to enter Eretz Yisrael and organize tribes into a Jewish nation 
  • ……to overcome two dispersions and two temple destructions 
  • ……to survive after Masada and the Bar Kochba Revolts 
  • ……to sustain Jewish rituals and values as diasporas 
  • ……to focus on a return to Eretz Yisrael 
  • …   .to read Torah and when finished annually, read it again 
  • ……to unfold a concept of Jewish peoplehood 

If all we had done was ….. to keep Israel as center while in the diaspora                 Dayenu 

  • ………to adapt Jewish behavior to diaspora living 
  • ………to outlive blame for killing Christ and for the Black Death 
  • ………to endure challenges and turn them into opportunities 
  • ………to teach Jewish customs and values to the next generation
  • ………to negotiate our well-being with dukes, czars, and kings 
  • ………to defy the expulsions from Spain, Portugal, England and France  
  • ………to modernize and adapt religious practice and worship, yet maintain our core 
  • ……    to read Torah and when finished annually, read it again 
  • ………to sustain a reality of Jewish peoplehood

If all we had done was ..… to sustain our identity under endless duress                  Dayenu 

  • ……..to overcome centuries of hate and oppression 
  • ……. to shun victimization and look toward tomorrows 
  • ……..to organize self-rule and maintain communal identity  
  • ……..to practice faith while living as diaspora minorities 
  • ….….to put centuries of persecution in our review mirror  
  • ……..to improvise and innovate to reach tomorrows
  • ……..to care, tax, and educate our own for community good.
  • ……..to taste emancipation but have it rapidly disappear 
  • ……..to read Torah and when finished annually, read it again 
  • ……..to hold fast to Jewish destiny in Jewish hands 

If all we had done was ….. to liberate ourselves and consider forming e a modern state           Dayenu 

  • …… to survive pogroms and brutal anti-Semitism 
  • …….to choose self-determination and keep choice in Jewish hands 
  • …….to pursue slowly Jewish nationalism with Zionism in the 1800s  
  • …… to lobby for a British promise to facilitate a national home
  • …….to link Jewish immigration to the Jewish home in Palestine 
  • …….to be led by Herzl, Nordau, Weizmann, Jabotinsky, Begin, and Ben-Gurion 
  • …….to secure recognition of the Balfour Declaration by the League of Nations
  • …… to organize a Jewish Agency, the JNF, Palmach, Haganah and more  
  • …….to resurrect Hebrew as a modern spoken language 
  • …….to grow a small economy to support Jewish needs 
  • …….to read Torah and when finished annually, read it again 
  • …… to be the subject in a Jewish sentence and not the object in an others  

If all we had done was ……to build a nucleus for a Jewish state                         Dayenu 

  • …….to buy and redeem land in Eretz Yisrael 
  • …….to acquire physical power and learn to use it 
  • …….to expand slowly a framework for self-rule 
  • …… to read Bialik, Agnon, Brenner, Shlonsky, and Appelfeld 
  • …….to survive the Holocaust 
  • …….to immigrate Jews to Palestine against British opposition 
  • …….to obtain UN recognition and sanction for a Jewish state in Palestine 
  • …….to lobby diligently for Israel’s creation in 1948 
  • …….to read Torah and when finished annually, read it again 
  • …….to sustain Israel’s destiny in Jewish hands 

If all we had done was ……. to be pragmatic in the birth Israel                            Dayenu 

  • …….to make compromises that prevented a Jewish civil war 
  • …… to outlast the onslaught of five Arab armies 
  • …….to live by a code that said, “Never Again” 
  • …….to establish a deterrent nuclear program 
  • …….to absorb 800,000 Jews from Middle Eastern lands from 1948-1953 
  • …….to affirm a “Right of Return” for any Jew wanting to live in Israel 
  • …….to survive an Arab boycott and demonization from the Moslem world 
  • …….to evolve a pluralistic democracy 
  • …….to innovate a vital national water supply
  • …….to provide for Jews in need and in crisis world-wide 
  • …….to read Torah and when finished annually, read it again 
  • …….to validate destiny in Jewish hands 

If all we had done was ……. to defend Israel as the Jewish state                        Dayenu  

  • …….to outlast decades of terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians 
  • …….to prevent Arab threats from destroying Israel in June 1967  
  • …….to accept the idea of exchanging land for peace 
  • …….to repel eventually the surprise attack on Yom Kippur 1973 
  • …….to sustain and invigorate American Jewish and diaspora relations   
  • …….to rescue 104 Jews kidnapped by terrorists at Entebbe  
  • …… to sign a peace treaty with Egypt in 1979 
  • …….to grow the US-Israeli relationship to strategic proportions 
  • …….to outlast Palestinian killings of Israeli civilians 
  • …….to read Torah and when finished annually, read it again 
  • …….to reaffirm destiny in Jewish hands 

If all we had done was…… to deepen Israel as the Jewish state                              Dayenu 

  • …….to  harness Israeli brain-power for economic growth 
  • …….to be proud of 170 Jewish Nobel Prize winners and 12 of them Israeli 
  • …….to sign a peace treaty with Jordan in 1994 
  • …….to lobby persistently in favor of Israel’s right to self defense
  • …….to provide humanitarian aid regardless of politics 
  • …… to repel Hamas and Hezbollah insurgencies  
  • …….to keep Jerusalem open and accessible to all religions
  • …….to advance a powerful military for self-defense 
  • …….to absorb 1 million Russian Jews in the 1980s and 1990s 
  • …….to read Torah and when finished annually, read it again 
  • …….to deny those who wish to wrest Israel’s destiny from Jewish hands 

If all we had done was…… to protect Israel as the Jewish state                            Dayenu 

  • …….to deliver Jewish medical assistance worldwide to those in need 
  • …….to destroy nuclear capacities of enemies in Iraq and Syria 
  • …….to insist on recognition as a Jewish state  
  • …….to withstand Palestinian uprisings against Israel’s legitimacy 
  • …….to have four prime ministers endorse a two state solution  
  • …….to build a GDP in excess of $300 billion 
  • …….to enjoy the literary genius of Amichai, Almog, Gur, Oz, Yehoshua, Keret, Gilboa, and Ghouri
  • …….to battle intellectual attacks against Israel’s existence 
  • …….to read Torah and when finished annually, read it again 
  • …….to assure that Israel’s destiny remains in Jewish hands 

If all we had done was…… to preserve Israel as the Jewish state                            Dayenu 

  • …….to remain vigilant as Arab state structures collapse in the neighborhood  
  • …….to thwart Iranian objectives to destroy the Jewish state 
  • …… to embrace non-Jewish Zionists in support of Israel’s essence.
  • …….to fend off outbreaks of European and Islamic anti-Semitism  
  • …….to develop endless scientific and technological innovations  
  • …….to protect Jews in need and crisis the world over 
  • …….to remain prepared to negotiate with Palestinians to end the conflict
  • …….to counter divestment spawned by BDS movements 
  • …….to nurture an Israeli music scene that is noted the world over
  • …….to strive to be Jewish in deed, soul, or action 
  • …….to read Torah and when finished annually, read it again 

If all we had done was…… to retain Israel as the Jewish state                            Dayenu 

Ken Stein, Atlanta, Ga., April 5, 2020