“…If He had brought us out from Egypt and had not carried out judgments against them, it would have sufficed for us!….” (The Haggadah)
אִלּוּ הוֹצִיאָנוּ מִמִּצְרַיִם, וְלֹא עָשָׂה בָהֶם שְׁפָטִים דַּיֵּנוּ… – הגדה של פסח
It is our custom to recite the fourteen stanzas of the Dayeinu hymn without interruption, discussing its commentary and explanation only beforehand or afterward. Based on the following parable told by the Baal Shem Tov, we can understand the profound lesson in spiritual growth that we can learn from this practice.
A man once came to see the king. Upon entering the palace grounds, however, the magnificent gardens and courtyards struck him with awe and amazement, stopping him in his tracks. The splendor of the palace completely overwhelmed him; he could not even entertain the thought of continuing and actually entering the king’s presence.
The same scenario plays itself out in each of our lives, in our quest to escape our personal Egypts and to become more in touch with G-d and G-dliness. Each time we surpass the limits we had previously imagined for our spiritual lives, we are tempted to plateau at that benchmark or milestone. I have escaped from Egypt, we think, and my present spiritual experience alone is overwhelming me. Dayenu! This is sufficient! To strive for even greater spiritual sensitivity and an even deeper connection to the Divine truth is simply out of the question.
We therefore recite all fourteen stanzas of Dayeinu (at the Seder) in one refrain, each of which describes a stage in the physical exodus from Egypt that in and of itself would have been sufficient – Dayeinu. This teaches us that in our spiritual exodus as well, though every stage we reach is a tremendous milestone, yet we must constantly be aware that this is not where we pause and reflect. Even while absorbing the earliest levels in our spiritual journey, we must remember that G-d has planted within each of our souls the desire for the ultimate, to be face to face with the King. We may not be content until the conclusion of the Dayeinu hymn, “He built for us the Beis Habechirah to atone for all our sins,” where every Jew will fully experience his essential bond with G-d Himself.
—Toras Menachem vol. 16, pp. 207-209