Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Great Pesach Custom

30 days before Pesach we are supposed to start preparing for the holiday.
For some that means cleaning.  For a Rabbi it means studying the Haggadah.

I have heard that there are more commentaries on the Passover Haggadah than on any other book ever written in history, including the Bible.  I believe it.  Every year new Haggadahs hit the market before Passover.

I used to have a friend, Rabbi Eliyahu Milder z"l, who had a custom to purchase at least one new Haggadah every year before Pesach.  He did this from the time he learned in Yeshiva and by the time of his death he had close to 100 different commentaries of the Haggadah in his library.

Since he died I have taken on this custom.  I am currently shopping for a new Haggadah, so if anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.

Some nice haggadah suggestions that I have:

The Chief Rabbi's Haggadah - Not to be confused with the Chief Rabbi of Nebraska's Haggadah (available soon where ever books are sold) this Haggadah by Rabbi Jonathan Sachs is a collection of essays about the Haggadah.  It is best used as preparation material.  Don't try to read the commentary at the seder - your seder will go on forever!  Read the essays in advance and impress your family and friends with historical facts and practical insights.

The Gurs Haggadah:  Passover in Perdition - In 1941 in the Gurs Detention Camp in Southwestern France the Jewish prisoners held a passover seder with a Haggadah that they wrote from memory.  The Haggadah comes with photographs and features a facsimile of the actual Haggadah that they wrote.  Bring it to the seder and truly appreciate what it means to be free on Passover.

The Ben Ish Chai Haggadah - I found this treasure buried in a sheimos pile in a shul many years ago.  I cannot believe that someone actually through this away!  It has amazing commentary, each with profound parables explaining a moral lesson found in each section of the Haggadah.  You can either read this in preparation and bring to the seder the stories you liked best, or you can bring this to the seder cold and choose sections at random to read out loud.  Each one is a gem.

Happy Haggadah hunting everyone!!


  1. The Nechama Lebowitz Haggadah has wonderful and inspiring commentary.

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