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Passover

Dayenu: A Passover Song Your Kids Will Love

DAYENU2

The Passover seder is a wonderful time for family, delicious food, and joyous banter.  But also — and let’s get real second — for kids, the seder can also feel really long.

Fortunately, built right into the seder are fun songs that really liven things up. And while there are many wonderful options to choose among — “Chad Gadya,” the Four Questions — if I had to pick a favorite, it would  be “Dayenu.”

“Dayenu,” in Hebrew, means “it would’ve been enough,” and the song is the quintessential song of gratitude to God. The song — whose place in the seder indicates that it’s almost time to eat —  lists all the many things God did to help the Jewish people, including like freeing us from the Pharaoh, parting the Red Sea, helping us survive in the desert for 40 years, and leading us to Israel.

If God had done just one of these things, it would’ve been great and amazing. But, lo! God did all of these things, and so we recount them and show our thanks.

Aside from its wonderful sentiment, what makes this tune extra special is its easy, catchy chorus that’s nearly like a rock song. Your kids can dance, clap, and shake their heads — heck, they can even head bang, if they’re metal like that —  while they sing the simple lyrics.

Check out how the Maccabeats do it in this infectious video:

Learning the song’s many verses can be a fun challenge (though it’s definitely fine to just sing the chorus, as a start). It’s even a fun activity to bond over while you’re doing others things, like, say, cleaning the house for Passover, or prepping the myriad of foods needed for the seder.

This fun video from BimBam will help you nail the words:

And if you’re looking for the full lyrics of “Dayenu,” here they are, courtesy of Sefaria:

אִלּוּ הוֹצִיאָנוּ מִמִצְרַיִם וְלֹא עָשָׂה בָהֶם שְׁפָטִים, דַּיֵּנוּ.

If God had taken us out of Egypt and not made judgements on them; [it would have been] enough for us.

Ilu hotzianu mi’Mitzraim ve’lo asha bahem shfatim, dayenu.

אִלּוּ עָשָׂה בָהֶם שְׁפָטִים, וְלֹא עָשָׂה בֵאלֹהֵיהֶם, דַּיֵּנוּ.

If God had made judgments on them and had not made [them] on their gods; [it would have been] enough for us.

Ilu asa bahem shfatim velo asha be’eloheheim, dayenu.

אִלּוּ עָשָׂה בֵאלֹהֵיהֶם, וְלֹא הָרַג אֶת־בְּכוֹרֵיהֶם, דַּיֵּנוּ.

If God had made [them] on their gods and had not killed their firstborn; [it would have been] enough for us.

Ilu asha be’eloheheim, ve’lo harag et-bechoreheim, dayenu.

אִלּוּ הָרַג אֶת־בְּכוֹרֵיהֶם וְלֹא נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת־מָמוֹנָם, דַּיֵּנוּ.

If God had killed their firstborn and had not given us their money; [it would have been] enough for us.

Ilu harag et bechoreihem ve’lo natan lanu et mamonam, dayenu.

אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת־מָמוֹנָם וְלֹא קָרַע לָנוּ אֶת־הַיָּם, דַּיֵּנוּ.

If God had given us their money and had not split the Sea for us; [it would have been] enough for us.

Ilu natan lanu et mamonam ve’lo kara lanu et hayam, dayenu.

אִלּוּ קָרַע לָנוּ אֶת־הַיָּם וְלֹא הֶעֱבִירָנוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ בֶּחָרָבָה, דַּיֵּנוּ.

If God had split the Sea for us and had not taken us through it on dry land; [it would have been] enough for us.

Ilu kara lanu et hayam ve’lo he’eviranu b’tocho b’charavah, dayenu.

אִלּוּ הֶעֱבִירָנוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ בֶּחָרָבָה וְלֹא שִׁקַּע צָרֵנוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ דַּיֵּנוּ.

If God had taken us through it on dry land and had not pushed down our enemies in [the Sea]; [it would have been] enough for us.

Ilu he’eviranu b’tocho b’charavah, ve’lo sheka tzarenu be’tocho, dayenu

אִלּוּ שִׁקַּע צָרֵנוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ וְלֹא סִפֵּק צָרְכֵּנוּ בַּמִדְבָּר אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה דַּיֵּנוּ.

If God had pushed down our enemies in [the Sea] and had not supplied our needs in the wilderness for forty years; [it would have been] enough for us.

Ilu shikah tzarenu b’tocho ve’lo sipek tzarchenu ba’midbar arba’im shana, dayenu!

אִלּוּ סִפֵּק צָרְכֵּנוּ בְּמִדְבָּר אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה וְלֹא הֶאֱכִילָנוּ אֶת־הַמָּן דַּיֵּנוּ.

If God had supplied our needs in the wilderness for forty years and had not fed us the manna; [it would have been] enough for us.

Ilu sipek tzarchenu bamidbar arba’im shanah, ve’lo he’echilanu et ha’man, dayenu.

אִלּוּ הֶאֱכִילָנוּ אֶת־הַמָּן וְלֹא נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת־הַשַׁבָּת, דַּיֵּנוּ.

If God had fed us the manna and had not given us the Shabbat; [it would have been] enough for us.

Ilu he’echilanu et ha’man ve’lo natan lanu et ha’Shabbat, dayenu.

אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת־הַשַׁבָּת, וְלֹא קֵרְבָנוּ לִפְנֵי הַר סִינַי, דַּיֵּנוּ.

If God had given us the Shabbat and had not brought us close to Mount Sinai; [it would have been] enough for us.

Ilu natan lanu et ha’Shabbat ve’lo kervanu lifnei har Sinai, dayenu.

אִלּוּ קֵרְבָנוּ לִפְנֵי הַר סִינַי, וְלא נַתַן לָנוּ אֶת־הַתּוֹרָה. דַּיֵּנוּ.

If God had brought us close to Mount Sinai and had not given us the Torah; [it would have been] enough for us.

Ilu kirvanu lifnei har Sinai, ve’lo natan lanu et ha’Torah, dayenu.

אִלּוּ נַתַן לָנוּ אֶת־הַתּוֹרָה וְלֹא הִכְנִיסָנוּ לְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל, דַּיֵּנוּ.

If God had given us the Torah and had not brought us into the land of Israel; [it would have been] enough for us.

Ilu natan lanu et ha’Torah ve’lo hichnisanu l’eretz Israel, dayenu.

אִלּוּ הִכְנִיסָנוּ לְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלֹא בָנָה לָנוּ אֶת־בֵּית הַבְּחִירָה דַּיֵּנוּ.

If God had brought us into the land of Israel and had not built us the ‘Chosen House’ [the Temple; it would have been] enough for us.

Ilu hichnisanu l’eretz Israel, ve’lo bana lanu et beit ha’bchirah, dayenu

The Passover seder is an adventure, not a chore — and Kveller’s new, family-friendly haggadah captures all the excitement, plus explains everything you need to know. Best of all? It’s free! Get it here.
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