Erev Yom Tov for the Seventh Night of Pesach
The Survival of the Haggadah
A Different Night: Music for Passover – Haggadah Suite
By Rouhama Danto.
There is hardly a book, other than the Bible which was written, published and decorated so continuously as the Passover Haggadah.
Its content have been preserved for about 2000 years, and its sources may be traced to another 1000 years.
So what is the Haggadah?
The meaning of the verb “Haggadah” is to narrate, to tell, to make known the story of the Exodus to our children, (“Vehigadeta l’vincha” – tell your son) which we are commanded to do on the occasion of the Passover celebration, and it set out the order, the Seder of this celebration.
This telling can be, as you will see tonight, in words, music and art.
Since to duty is to tell our children, it became a custom that at the beginning of the Seder, the youngest child, or person present, should ask a series of questions about the observance of the Seder.
The answer to these questions, is the telling of the story, the reading of the Haggadah.
By the way, not only children, but adults too are encouraged to ask and discuss this event.
Since this event takes place at home, and not in the synagogue, there is room for discussion, thoughts and different interpretations, and that’s makes this event a family one, and an educational one.
And that’s why artists and scribes felt completely comfortable to illustrate, illuminate, add poems in different countries and generations. But what is important is the core story was kept for over 2000 years.
Now, the Haggadah presents the Exodus story in a special method: It starts with the disgraceful and ends with the praiseworthy, “matchil b’gnai umesayem b’shevach”. The story is unfolding from the negative, the painful and agony of slavery, to the positive, the glory of redemption.
As we said, the reading of the Haggadah is an answer to the questions asked at the beginning, so, when the youngest child asks “Ma nishtana halaila haze” the answer is telling the story which begins with “avadim hayinu”, we were slaves in Egypt.
So, our Rabbis see this story as blue print for Jewish history . Each generation can find in the Haggadah its own suffering and recovery.
From the 20th century there are new haggadot every year, Beside the traditional Haggadah , we can find now a feminist haggadah , Haggadah for different Kibbutzim in Israel , children Haggadah, holocaust Haggadah and more.
Cantor Maisner organized here a collection of some of your beautiful Haggadot to look and enjoy after the program .
Please come, enjoy our fascinating history , music and art.