Wanting it All and Always Finding Enough

Wanting it All and Always Finding Enough

There is a well-known song sung at every Passover Seder – a meditation on gratitude – called Dayenu, which means, “It would have been enough”. The song acknowledges 15 major biblical events inviting people to sing “dayenu” after each one. If the Israelites were liberated from Egypt but the sea didn’t divide – “dayenu” – it would have been enough. If the Israelites got through the sea but had no food in the desert, dayenu…if they had food but didn’t make it to the promised-land, dayenu.

But would any of these really have been enough? If the Israelites had left Egypt but didn’t make it to the promised-land, would it have been enough? Obviously, not.

So where is the wisdom of dayenu? This is actually a gratitude Koan! Each individual event is enough AND not enough. The key to living fully is to parse our journey every single day into the many steps we take always wanting more while always finding enough.? We are hard wired to feel the good that happens to us is the norm and so only notice things being out of the ordinary when something goes wrong. But taking the good for granted is not a prescription for happiness.

If all I did was wake up this morning with a smile from my wife of 31 years but didn’t make the train, dayenu – it would have been enough. If I made that train but didn’t close that deal, dayenu. If I closed the deal but didn’t make that important meeting, dayenu. If I had a great meal, reconnected to a friend, spoke with my brother, was helped by a colleague, saw that sunset… you get the idea, dayenu!

Parse your day for all the moments for which to be grateful. Can you want it all and always be finding enough? Try it…


Irwin Kula

Irwin Kula is the co-founder and co-executive editor of The Wisdom Daily. A rabbi, Irwin's writing has been featured in The Huffington Post and the Washington Post. He is the author of Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life and a co-editor of The Book of Jewish Sacred Practices. Irwin has appeared on NBC's The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The O'Reilly Factor and PBS Frontline. Irwin also serves as President of Clal, The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, a leadership training institute, think tank and resource center in New York City.

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