DAYENU ENOUGH

By Shlomoh Sherman
March 29, 2021 Euclid, OH


DAYENU
Is it ever enough?
It is probably never enough.

If He had only brought us out from Egypt,
If He had only carried out judgments against them,
If He had only destroyed their idols,
If He had only smitten their first-born,
If He had only given us their wealth,
If He had only split the sea for us,
If He had only taken us through the sea on dry land,
If He had only drowned our oppressors in it,
If He had only supplied our needs in the desert for forty years,
If He had only fed us the manna,
If He had only given us the Shabbat,
If He had only brought us before Mount Sinai,
If He had only given us the Torah,
If He had only brought us into the land of Israel,
If He had only built the Temple for us

Guess what? If it would really have been enough, we'd have stopped at the first DAYENU. But we go on and on.

DAYENU models the world. Is there a person, a corporation, a country that ever will have enough?

If only I had a better job
If only I had a decent mate
If only I had just a little bit more money.
If only I had better DNA
If only I can achieve that goal, it will be enough.

Guess what? When we get to the goal, its not THE goal. It's Goal 1.
Now on to goal 2, and on, and on.

PIRKE AVOT is a Talmudic tractate in which we read:
Ben Zoma said: Who is rich? He who is happy with what he has.
Maybe so!  

Diane Lavin, our great leader in Torah study recounted the following story. Once she prepared a ROSH HASHANAH lunch to which she invited friends and acquaintances. During the meal, she asked her guests what they would like to see improved in the world in the coming year.

One guest said that he would like to see peace in the Middle East.
One quest said that he would like to see new cures for serious diseases.
One guest said that he would like to see people who lost their jobs get better jobs.
One guest said that he would like to see enemies makeup and become friends again.

But there were two guests whose responses seriously bothered Diane.

One was a 9-year-old boy who said that in the coming year, he would like to see his brother die.

The boy's father, obviously embarrassed, took the boy by the shoulder and led him out of the home.

Diane said that although what the boy wanted was terrible, after all, he is 9 and sometimes children say awful things. She might invite the man and his son back again because one day the boy will be 10 and 12 and 18 and 26.

But the response of the other guest so disturbed her that she said that she would probably never invite him back to her home again.

The other guest said that he wants nothing in the new year because HE HAS ENOUGH. He has his health, he has his family, his business is doing well. He needs nothing. he has enough.

Yet other guests said that it wasn't enough for them if countries were not at peace if people with serious illnesses continued to be ill if unemployed people remained jobless if enemies did not makeup with each other.

This man cared for no one else's welfare, only his own. His own wellbeing was enough for him.

Perhaps Ben Zoma's statement that the rich person's happiness exists in his satisfaction that he has enough needs amplification.

Perhaps we should say that he who is rich is the person who is happy that everyone has enough.


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