דינו or דײכם ? A גױ ponders סדר.

A stranger hears the joyful words
A strange mix of fasting and feasting
Smiling and singing children
The word of the week is דינו

So much is known yet unfamiliar
The stranger hears the words
Wants to join the song
Yet it feels like דײכם not דינו

The stranger cannot remember Egypt
The Lord can be respected
The power honored
The heart warmed by the idea of justice

Yet divine justice is difficult to identify these days
No one would admit it if it were seen
Injustice is common enough in G-d’s name
Yet I say דײכם, אמן

When I face a sea — there is no dry land
I have never tasted manna
My ancestors it seems do not remember salvation by miracles
Yet I say דײכם, אמן

My country has abandoned the Sabbath
There is no longer rest
We are expected to work whenever there is work
Until illness and injury forces replacement

My ancestors never saw Sinai
Were not allowed at the temple
Were never held to the תורה
Yet I say דײכם, אמן

Yet, I have received the law
Struggling to read בראשׁית ברא אלהים
Reading תורה, grammar and dictionary together
Meditating on every phrase until meaning surfaces

Perhaps I can find reason to sing
Perhaps a גױ like me can dance
I too believe the Lord our God is one
I too can find reasons to say דינו

If He gave the cycle of light and dark
If He placed the sun, moon, and stars in the sky
If He planted the garden filling the world with trees
If He populated the world with animals
If He brought water to the land
דינו

If He had breathed life into my first father
If He had given him a helpmate
If He had given children, continuing life
If He gave us the power to conquer the world
If He caused the land to produce food
דינו

If He taught us that man is the Divine Image
If He taught us that honoring man is worship
If He taught us that injustice cannot be tolerated
If He preserved the Just in the Ark
If he gave his covenant to all mankind
דינו

If He called for generosity to all with needs
If He sent prophets to the nations
If He called all people to repentance
If He removed the barriers created by birth
If He brought redemption to the world
דינו

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2 comments on “דינו or דײכם ? A גױ ponders סדר.

  1. sarahemc2 says:

    This is really, really lovely. Thank you. For writing it and for sharing it.

    Peace and all good things,
    Sarah

  2. I’m very glad you liked it. Faith and tradition can be intimidating. It is difficult to find the balance of respect, passion, and individuality.

    — Sarah wrote two interesting responses to דינו I recommend these posts to any reader who either appreciates, or does not quite understand this poem.

    http://hilltrash.wordpress.com/2008/04/21/dayenu-it-would-have-been-enough/
    http://hilltrash.wordpress.com/2008/04/22/dayenu-reconsidered/

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