It is human nature to try new things, to learn more. As Pesach is approaching; we ask ourselves how can keep the keep the freshness and excitement of yet another Seder. How can we find new insights? How can we make this night special and connect to ourselves and Kids?
This year, I want to introduce you the Hagadah called ‘the Night that Unites’ comprising life lessons and stories from Rav Kook, Rabbi Soloveitchik and Reb Shlomo Carlebach compiled by Rabbi Aaron Goldscheider. While it is a Hagadah, I started to read the commentaries this Shabbat and could not put the book down – sorry I mean Hagadah. What a great read.
First out; all three Rabbis all shared a great love for the land of Israel, but equally important they saw the beauty and potential in every single Jew. They taught a Torah of Kindness, and it is in this spirit that the Hagadah is presented. I will share a few thoughts from the Hagadah,
The Central Mitzvah of the Seder is to tell the Story of leaving Egypt. This Hagadah is a great story and let’s start at the beginning. There is an opinion in the Mishna that the Seder should start with Mah Nistanah, but it starts with Kiddush. Reb Shlomo shares an insight from the Alexander Rebbe: The first thing as a Jew is not to ask – but to be connected to something deeper than ‘questions’. We need to be connected to faith and this is why we start with Kiddush. This brings a question: Do You agree with this premise. Do you feel that it is important to have a secure grounding of faith before questioning, or do you think that faith comes through questioning? I will be asking my kids that question come Seder Night.
Another cute story is around why do we break the matzah – 3 quick headlines: Breaking the Matza is a) symbol of sharing b) Body and Soul c) Our children will fix the world. Who would have thought there is so much symbolism in such a simple thing? Why do the children bring the broken piece of Matza at the end of the Seder? The afikomen – the Broken Matza – represents the broken hearts. broken lives and so many tears. The world is fractured and we need to know how to repair it. Do you know who will fix the World; Our children – Our Children will bring back the broken pieces to make the world whole again.
I could go on and on with more, but I will share one more idea; Ha Lahma Anya – This is ‘the bread of our affliction’ is written in Aramaic instead of Hebrew. It appears that this paragraph was inserted after the destruction of the Temple when the Jews lived in Babylon. The idea is brought that is must have been very difficult for Jews to sit down at the Seder Table and celebrate freedom and redemption. After all they were still ‘slaves’ in a foreign land. Rav Kook says that this paragraph was one of hope. Just as we were redeemed in Egypt, it can and surely happen again.
Now we are here, next year in the land of Israel, now we are slaves, next year we will be free. (I am adding next year there will be Peace.)
These Hagadahs’ are available in Englishand Hebrew only edition at Steimastsky and other fine Book shops. Rabbi Goldscheider will be speaking and sharing more insights this Wednesday, 13th April at 8,30 at 198 Achuza, Raanana