Ask The Rabbi

What's the Haggadah

The Color of HeavenArtscroll
Topic: Haggadah for Pesach, Definition

Fred from Tennessee wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

What is the Haggadah?


Dear Fred,

The Haggadah is a book that Jews read on the first night of Passover. It tells about our slavery in Egypt and the miracles G-d did for us when freeing us. The word haggadah means "telling," which comes from the Biblical command: "And you shall tell your child on that day, saying: 'G-d did (miracles) for me when I left Egypt so that I would fulfill the Torah's commandment." (Exodus 13:8 and Rashi)

As a Jewish family sits around the festive table on Passover night and reads the Haggadah, all of its members are not only retelling that seminal experience of the Jewish nation but are reliving it as well. Egyptian exile and the Exodus from it, say our Sages, are blueprints for Jewish history. Each generation can find in the Haggadah so much guidance in understanding its own trials and triumphs. The Haggadah is thus the ultimate curriculum for a crash course in Jewish history.


 
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