Dayenu on Partial Miraculous Salvation at the Red Sea

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Ask The Rabbi - Dayenu


Nomi Levy wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

Hi! We are some students from the San Diego Hebrew Day School. We are currently researching some things for a Haggadah we are working on in school, we have some questions and would like you to answer them for us.

    In the Dayenu it states:

  1. Had He split the sea for us, and not carried us through it in dryness, it would have been enough.
  2. Had He carried us through it in dryness, and not drowned our opponents in it, it would have been enough.
  3. Had He drowned our opponents in it, and not provided our needs in the desert for 40 years, it would have been enough.

    Yet it wouldn't have been enough because:

  1. Not carrying us in dryness would have drowned us or slowed us.
  2. Had He not drowned our opponents they would have killed us.
  3. Had He not gratified our needs in the desert we would have not survived.

Students of the San Diego Hebrew Day School.

Dear Students,

I hope I don't get in trouble for doing your homework for you, but here are some answers to the excellent questions you have posed.

Basically, Hashem has many ways of achieving any goal, and is not limited to any one specific course of action. For example:

1. Had the sea floor not been totally dry, it would have been enough. We could have escaped from the Egyptians even if our shoes had gotten a bit muddy.

2. Had the Egyptians not drowned, it would have been enough. They could have (and should have!) run away in terror at the sight of the sea opening up for the Jewish People! Their 'courage' in pursuing the Jewish People to the ocean's core was actually the greatest of all miracles. It showed Hashem's mastery over nature's every nuance ... even over the hearts and minds of thousands of individual soldiers.

3. Had Hashem not supplied us with Manna from heaven and water from a rock, it would have been enough. We had cattle to supply us with milk and meat, and enough money to buy food and water from the communities bordering the desert. As it was, the Jewish People engaged in trade with the neighboring nations during the 40 years in the desert, buying food and clothing. Good luck on your project!


  • Kol Bo, Rashbam, Ramban, Shlah,
  • Tractate Yoma 75b

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