1969 Freedom Seder, Excerpt - Dayenu opposite
So the struggles for freedom that remain will be more dark and difficult than any we have met so far. For we must struggle for a freedom that enfolds stern justice, stern bravery, and stern love. Blessed art thou, O Lord our God! who hast confronted us with the necessity of choice and of creating our own book of thy Law. How many and how hard are the choices and the tasks the Almighty has set before us!
For if we were to end a single genocide but not to stop the other wars that kill men and women as we sit here, it would not be sufficient;
If we were to end those bloody wars but not disarm the nations of the weapons that could destroy all mankind, it would not be sufficient;
If we were to disarm the nations but not to end the brutality with which the police attack black people in some countries, brown people in others; Moslems in some countries, Hindus in other; Baptists in some countries, atheists in others; Communists in some countries, conservatives in others, it would not be sufficient;
If we were to end outright police brutality but not prevent some people from wallowing in luxury while others starved, it would not be sufficient;
If we were to make sure that no one starved but were not to free the daring poets from their jails, it would not be sufficient;
If we were to free the poets from their jails but to train the minds of people so that they could not understand the poets, it would not be sufficient;
If we educated all men and women to understand the free creative poets but forbade them to explore their own inner ecstasies, it would not be sufficient;
If we allowed men and women to explore their inner ecstasies but would not allow them to love one another and share in the human fraternity, it would not be sufficient.
How much then are we in duty bound to struggle, work, share, give, think, plan, feel, organize, sit-in, speak out, hope, and be on behalf of Mankind! For we must end the genocide [in Vietnam], stop the bloody wars that are killing men and women as we sit here, disarm the nations of the deadly weapons that threaten to destroy us all, end the brutality with which the police beat minorities in many countries, make sure that no one starves, free the poets from their jails, educate us all to understand their poetry, allow us all to explore our inner ecstasies, and encourage and aid us to love one another and share in the human fraternity. All these!
During Passover 1969, Jews and African Americans came together on the first anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination to remember him. A Seder with new readings that connected the Jewish exodus from Egypt with the struggle for Civil Rights in America and Social Justice around the world seemed the perfect way to commemorate and celebrate. This short excerpt takes the Dayenu motif and re-writes it as the opposite - "it would not be sufficient."
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "1969 Freedom Seder, Excerpt - Dayenu opposite." (Viewed on November 22, 2014) <http://jwa.org/node/11474/lightbox2>.