Dayenu is a concept mentioned in the Jewish Haggadah which defines the order of the Passover Supper, the Seder, celebrating the liberation of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery (Book of Exodus). The eight days of Passover coincides with Holy Week celebrated by Christians all over the world.

So what is Dayenu?

It is the practice of giving thanks for what we have rather than whine over what we haven’t got. In Hebrew, “Day” is enough and “enu” is to us—as in, it would have sufficed.

Dayenu is a 15-stanza song that lists the 15 gifts bestowed by the Almighty on the Israelites. After each stanza they chorus “Dayenu” which means, “It would have been enough.”

Here’s an example:

If He had given us Shabbat [the day of rest and the seventh day of the week],

And had not brought us before Mount Sinai,

Dayenu [It would have been enough]

If he had brought us before Mount Sinai,

And had not given us the Torah,

Dayenu [It would have been enough]

and so on…

It is a lovely read and makes sense to me.

In fact, it got me thinking—as they felt grateful for what they received and had, they received even more. Life is pretty much like that, isn’t it?

When we crib about all that we perceive is wrong with our lives, we fail to notice our blessings.

I thought Dayenu is a wonderful daily practice to include in our routine.

Some ways to practice Dayenu are:

When you go to bed think about just one thing that would have been enough, even though it cascaded to more. For me, a routine day is where I wake up, make the coffee, cook, manage some work, eat, take a walk and go to sleep in my comfortable bed, knowing my son’s okay.

But if the only good thing about my day was my morning coffee, Dayenu.

A home-cooked healthy meal…Dayenu.

Work going well…Dayenu.

If I receive good news…

If I get a new assignment….

If my client appreciates me, Dayenu.

When I wake up the next day, I am sure to appreciate whatever blessing that awaits me, and if it were the only one that day, it would be enough.

When I acknowledge what I have, rather than complain about what I don’t, my day begins with a smile and I know I will pass it on to those I interact with.

Stephen Hawking’s words illustrate the spirit of Dayenu beautifully:

“My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit, as well as physically.”

As we go through life accomplishing things, it would be nice to pause and reflect, take a breath, and give thanks for who we have become, what we have achieved before we move forward. I am sure there will be points where, at that time, we thought that was the best thing ever, before something even better happened.

Look back, smile. Maybe some of those things that made you ecstatic weren’t major things at all! Sometimes, the small things are the big things.

So…why not make a list of your “Dayenu” moments?

While you are doing this, remember you are enough

Embrace the present moment, which is perfect.

Be thankful for what you have and you'll end up having more. If you focus on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough. Dayenu #gratitude #atozchallenge #mindfulness

#WednesdayWisdom is a series with short bursts of easy-to-consume wisdom in the form of stories, quotes, anecdotes, and humor.

17 Comments

  1. What a lovely concept!! It’s so meaningful.
    I am making a list of my Dayenu moments, I think that will help me come out of the worries that are clouding my brain since yesterday! Thanks for sharing this today, Vidya ♥

  2. I often got frustrated over the fact that I had to give up my career for various other choices I made in life. But now when I am a mother of two kids and struggle to get some me time, my Dayenu moments are those when I am able write to my hearts content and read equally.

  3. This is so beautiful! Yes, let’s practice Dayenu every day, all the time. I love the concept of being grateful for everything, not just for *all* we have, but for every single thing, as a stand-alone. Thank you for sharing, Vidya—and for educating us on the vagaries of gratitude 🙂

  4. Thank to you, I know have understood the principle of dayenu to a certain extent!

    Yesterday I woke up and decided to not worry too much about the day going forward. I decided to take one thing at a time and focus on it until completed and not stress about the other things. And you know what, by the end of the day everything was done. Perfectly! Work, reading, writing, cooking and other household chores were all done and dusted and it felt like no effort from my side. It just happened when I did not think so much.

    Thank you for reaching out, Hottie! Having people like you in my life makes me feel blessed and thankful everyday.

  5. it indeed is a beautiful concept. I need to focus more inwards, on my blessings, for often I find myself sulking abt frivolous things

  6. I never heard of this but this is an interesting concept to try. Too many people, my hubby included, gripe about what the6 don’t have and what is wrong in the world instead of thinking what is positive. We need to think of what was good that day or that moment and embrace it.

  7. I so believe in gratitude. Whatever we have, is enough. It really helps focusing on what we have and being happy with it. There are so many others who don’t even have that much!

  8. Its such a lovely concept Dayneu, every culture in the world has a lot to give to us. There is such a peace in gratitude, that it touches the soul and brings peace from within.

  9. Dayenu is such a beautiful reminder to me vidya, at the end of the day- I am ready to go to bed tired of the day’s work, this post helped to refocus as I got a disturbing message… I will focus on the things I did today, for my basic needs, family, career and friends.. thanks for sharing, appreciate you:) Loved the images and quotes too.

  10. Beautiful word Vidya and another new one for me! Blessed is the day I started to read your blog. Again something which you have given to me to ponder over a lot; I wonder what my list will look like 🙂

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