Rabbis Without Borders
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I found myself thinking on the second day of Passover, “Other than matzah, matzah, matzah, what do we do to commemorate each day of this significant Jewish holiday?” The Torah tells us that we should observe Passover for seven days. The first and the seventh days are singled out as sacred occasions and are traditionally observed as full holidays devoid of work (Leviticus 23:5-8). That makes today, the seventh day of Passover, just as special as the first day of Passover on which we celebrate with the seder. While there is an increase in modern additions to the seder to add meaning to this holiday that resonate with us, today, there is very little change in custom or ritual to the rest of the week’s observance.
This year I’ve decided to try something different. I’d like to mark the seventh day as a truly sacred occasion just as the Torah tells us it should be. Instead of the traditional custom of going to synagogue for a service, I’ve decided to create my own modern ritual. Today, I’m going to write my own dayenu as a form of gratitude and a way of focusing my attention on the justice I’d like to see in the world in the coming year. While there is the traditional dayenu and many beautiful written modern versions, I think I’ll write my own and use it as a conversation starter to teach my kids about gratitude, modern justice and freedom. Perhaps each year, we will write our own family’s version of dayenu and stress our blessings and where we will focus our attention in the coming year.
So, here goes:
If we recognize the blessings of family and friends in our lives, Dayenu.
If we strive to meet our neighbors and learn about the needs of those in our community, Dayenu.
If we have conversations with those who are not like us and see their humanity, Dayenu.
If we lift up the fallen and ensure paths of treatment and recovery to those who suffer from addiction, Dayenu.
If we work towards the creation of mental health crisis centers instead of imprisoning the mentally ill, Dayenu.
If we empower people to successfully reenter society and remove obstacles for their employment after incarceration, Dayenu.
If we celebrate the value of every human being, Dayenu.
May this Passover spark a true z’man cheruteinu, a time of freedom, for us and all the world.