May It Be Enough
I have always loved the part of the Pesach Seder when we go through Dayenu. I think the fact that the prayer is so fun for children who get to take their voices from a whisper up to a roar makes it one of those moments every year that brings years of Pesach memories flashing back. However, as I have grown older I tend to focus on the word itself: Dayenu. I think the idea of being thankful for every step that the Jews took as they were able to leave Egypt, make their way towards Sinai to receive the Torah, and then into the Promised Land where the Holy Temple was eventually built, is important. It is a great lesson that we are thankful for each and every step, even if it ending after any of the steps really may not have been enough. I think by viewing these 15 steps of the Dayenu ritual it helps us as Jews understand how vital a role each and every step played in the Jews making their way from bondage to freedom. The 15 steps taken together were enough.
I think that this is the same view we must take when thinking about the state of our natural world. Every step in the process of working towards creating a clean and sustainable environment is vital, but if all of the steps do not come together to culminate in meaningful changes, it will not be enough. I pray that we can look back in 50 years and say that :
“If we had only written emails to our elected representatives, it would have been enough.”
“If we had only made phone calls and visited our Congressional leader’s offices, Dayenu.”
“If we had only spent time in our individual lives to reduce our own impact on the environment, Dayenu.”
“If we had only sat down with our Rabbi and Jewish educators to stress the importance of including a message of environmental sustainability in our synagogues, Dayenu.”
“If we had only passed meaningful clean energy legislation in our own country, Dayenu.”
“If nations of the world came together to address environmental issues as a global community, Dayenu.”
Obviously this list could go on but, I think the point I am trying to make is clear. Every step we take, whether as an individual, a community group, or a nation is vital to achieving larger environmental goals. However, it will only be enough if we continue to take these steps which can then hopefully culminate in a moment of, Dayenu.
During this Pesach, I hope you will bring this message to your Seder table. The work we do regarding Tikkun Olam, whether related to the environment, homelessness, modern day slavery, or any other important social issue, is so important. We all have limitations, both or time and resources, so we must do as much as we can and hope that combined with the actions of others it will be enough.
Kenya Hi Ratzon. May It Be So.