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Rabbi Jonathan Sacks's Haggadah: Hebrew and English Text with New Essays and Commentary by Jonathan Sacks

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The seder service on Pesach is the oldest surviving ritual in the Western world, dating back some 3,300 years....Through the Haggadah more than a hundred generations of Jews have handed on their story to their children....Few texts have received more attention than the Haggadah. There are thousands of commentaries, and more are published each year. Anyone who contemplates The seder service on Pesach is the oldest surviving ritual in the Western world, dating back some 3,300 years....Through the Haggadah more than a hundred generations of Jews have handed on their story to their children....Few texts have received more attention than the Haggadah. There are thousands of commentaries, and more are published each year. Anyone who contemplates adding to this number must ask not 'Why is this night different?' But 'Why is this edition different?' My answer is that I wrote this commentary because, amongst all the many I have read, I could not find one that explained in their full richness and scope the fundamental themes of the Pesach story: the Jewish concept of a free society, the role of memory in shaping Jewish identity, and the unique connection that exists in Judaism between spirituality and society, giving rise to what I have called elsewhere 'the politics of hope.' This Haggadah is actually two books in one. At what would be the back of an English-language book is the Haggdah in large, beautiful Hebrew typography, with an English translation adapted and with a running commentary by Rabbi Sacks. The Hebrew text and accompanying English translation are carefully arranged so as to be easy to use at the seder table. As such, this book is an ideal companion for use at the Passover meal. At the other end of the book are Rabbi Sacks's Essays on Passover. The 21 short essays demonstrate the qualities that make Rabbi Sacks one of the world's foremost religious leaders: keen intelligence, acute moral sensitivity, and a wide-ranging historical and literary imagination.


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The seder service on Pesach is the oldest surviving ritual in the Western world, dating back some 3,300 years....Through the Haggadah more than a hundred generations of Jews have handed on their story to their children....Few texts have received more attention than the Haggadah. There are thousands of commentaries, and more are published each year. Anyone who contemplates The seder service on Pesach is the oldest surviving ritual in the Western world, dating back some 3,300 years....Through the Haggadah more than a hundred generations of Jews have handed on their story to their children....Few texts have received more attention than the Haggadah. There are thousands of commentaries, and more are published each year. Anyone who contemplates adding to this number must ask not 'Why is this night different?' But 'Why is this edition different?' My answer is that I wrote this commentary because, amongst all the many I have read, I could not find one that explained in their full richness and scope the fundamental themes of the Pesach story: the Jewish concept of a free society, the role of memory in shaping Jewish identity, and the unique connection that exists in Judaism between spirituality and society, giving rise to what I have called elsewhere 'the politics of hope.' This Haggadah is actually two books in one. At what would be the back of an English-language book is the Haggdah in large, beautiful Hebrew typography, with an English translation adapted and with a running commentary by Rabbi Sacks. The Hebrew text and accompanying English translation are carefully arranged so as to be easy to use at the seder table. As such, this book is an ideal companion for use at the Passover meal. At the other end of the book are Rabbi Sacks's Essays on Passover. The 21 short essays demonstrate the qualities that make Rabbi Sacks one of the world's foremost religious leaders: keen intelligence, acute moral sensitivity, and a wide-ranging historical and literary imagination.

30 review for Rabbi Jonathan Sacks's Haggadah: Hebrew and English Text with New Essays and Commentary by Jonathan Sacks

  1. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    This Pesach I'm using a new (to me) Haggada, including 21 short essays by Rabbi Sacks. I'm dipping in and out of the essays, but virtually every page elicits a sob of joy, astonishment, or clarity. The essay "The Missing Fifth" brought me out of my seat and walking the room in excitement. In "The Art of Asking Questions" we learn that "The heroes of faith asked questions of God, and the greater the prophet, the harder the question." (In response to the questions "Why do the righteous [and the in This Pesach I'm using a new (to me) Haggada, including 21 short essays by Rabbi Sacks. I'm dipping in and out of the essays, but virtually every page elicits a sob of joy, astonishment, or clarity. The essay "The Missing Fifth" brought me out of my seat and walking the room in excitement. In "The Art of Asking Questions" we learn that "The heroes of faith asked questions of God, and the greater the prophet, the harder the question." (In response to the questions "Why do the righteous [and the innocent] suffer?" the Great Divine's answer is, in effect, "I was about to ask you the same thing.") In "The Unasked Question" Sacks wonders, why did God want us to experience slavery, and to reenact that experience every year? I could go on. But this won't be to everyone's taste. It fits me like my own breath.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alan Zwiren

    Oh how I miss Rabbi Sacks. Although we purchased this Haggadah a while ago, I only finally read it this Pesach. One side is the traditional Haggadah with commentary. The other side are essays on different topics ranging from ancient to modern times on Passover. Sheer brilliance is the only way to describe the insights that Rabbi Sacks provides. Whether he is connecting the Exodus from Egypt to the rebirth of the Jewish State, making commentary on emunah or reflecting on how children are not wick Oh how I miss Rabbi Sacks. Although we purchased this Haggadah a while ago, I only finally read it this Pesach. One side is the traditional Haggadah with commentary. The other side are essays on different topics ranging from ancient to modern times on Passover. Sheer brilliance is the only way to describe the insights that Rabbi Sacks provides. Whether he is connecting the Exodus from Egypt to the rebirth of the Jewish State, making commentary on emunah or reflecting on how children are not wicked, the are a mere reflection of their parents attitudes towards what is important, anyone who understands that Judaism is an inheritance that must be handed down through tale and deed must read this book. It is an excellent compliment to another of his works, "A Letter in the Scroll." I do have to take the time to thank the Applbaum family, who I knew when I lived in the Bay Area, for sponsoring such an important work by one of the greats Rabbis of our generation. The generosity is just one of the many midot of the family!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Martin

    My go-to for 5779, and springboard for my own dvar torahs which I shared around the seder table, in addition to the rich one provided by everyone else. Filled with some good, unique insights, and some eye-opening clarifiers concerning linguistic distinctions. Nice addition to my burgeoning haggadah collection - which now includes my own!

  4. 5 out of 5

    John Minster

    Commentary on the Haggadah itself isn't particularly extensive, but the essays are outstanding. Commentary on the Haggadah itself isn't particularly extensive, but the essays are outstanding.

  5. 5 out of 5

    David

    This Haggadah is thoroughly different from what I expected. If you open it from the right (Hebrew-style), you get a traditional haggadah in Hebrew and English as translated by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin (Chief Rabbi of Efrat, Israel), with some commentary from Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks. If you open it from the right, you get a series of short essays which touch on Passover themes. This is not Rabbi Sacks's masterwork. The amount of commentary in the haggadah itself is pretty low - it could work as a funct This Haggadah is thoroughly different from what I expected. If you open it from the right (Hebrew-style), you get a traditional haggadah in Hebrew and English as translated by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin (Chief Rabbi of Efrat, Israel), with some commentary from Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks. If you open it from the right, you get a series of short essays which touch on Passover themes. This is not Rabbi Sacks's masterwork. The amount of commentary in the haggadah itself is pretty low - it could work as a functional haggadah, except that the essays in the back mean that it won't lay flat on a table, and you can't hold a page open without damaging the (normal book) spine. The essays are okay - many of them return to the same tropes of Jewish survival over the centuries and today, but there are a few lovely insights further into the essays. This dates from relatively early in R' Sacks's career as Chief Rabbi, so he doesn't show the scope of his thinking, but there are glimmers of what will come. I particularly liked his take on Ḥad Gadya, which made the song finally make some sense to me. So I wouldn't recommend this as a functional haggadah, but as a collection of pesaḥ-themed essays, it's pretty good.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Alan Menachemson

    Readable for ever

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ayelet

    I liked his insights into how Jewish and world history interact with the Pesach story.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Malcster

  9. 4 out of 5

    Evan

  10. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  12. 4 out of 5

    Seth

  13. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

  14. 4 out of 5

    Harris Goodman

  15. 5 out of 5

    Leo Mercer

  16. 5 out of 5

    Taylor

  17. 4 out of 5

    Nina

  18. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lawrence

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

  21. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mira Singer

  24. 4 out of 5

    Brahm

  25. 4 out of 5

    Matt Reingold

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jack Dweck

  27. 5 out of 5

    Aron Raskas

  28. 5 out of 5

    Helyn

  29. 5 out of 5

    Estee

  30. 5 out of 5

    Diana Rosenfelder

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