Yom Shabbat, 15 AdarI 5781
Shushan Purim Saturday, 27 February 2021

These are the notes referenced in the Haggadah.

1. Long Ago…NEW, by JDR.

2. The people who walked in darkness…NOVEL, Isa. 9:1

2. Blessed…lights. TRAD. The custom of kindling lights to inaugurate the Sabbath or a Festival is taken for granted in Rabbinic Literature (M. Shab, 2:6; B. Pes. 102b), but the benediction (except for Chanukkah, B. Shab. 23a) is first found in post-talmudic sources (SRA 61; Shulchan Aruch, O.Ch. 263:5, 514:11).

2. May God bless you…TRAD., Num. 6:24 ff. The custom of parents blessing their children on the eve of the Sabbath or a Festival is first mentioned in early – 17th – century sources (JE, III, 243; EJ, 4, 1097).

3. Tonight we shall drink…NOVEL. “Not less than four cups of wine” are ordained already in the Mishnah (Pes. 10:1). “Four corners of the earth” and “four seasons of the year”: Midrash Agur 5:100. “Four world empires”: J.Pes. 10:1. “Four promises of redemption”: ibid. and Gen. R. 88:5. On all four and other explanations see Kasher 90-94.

3. Therefore say to the children of Israel…MODERN, Ex. 6:6. The idea of reciting before each cup the appropriate clause from Ex. 6:6 f. has been taken from NUH.

3. Blessed…vine. TRAD. The benediction to b e said before drinking wine as ordained in the Mishnah (Ber. 6:1; Pes. 10:2).

3. Blessed…Festivals. TRAD. Known as Kiddush, short for Kiddush ha-Yom, ‘Sanctification of the Day’, this benediction is often referred to in Rabbinic Literature (M. Pes. 10:2; B. Pes. 105a; B. Betzah 17a) but the full text is first found in post-talmudic sources (Sof. 19:2; SRA 110 f.).

4. Blessed…fire. TRAD., M. Ber. *:5. When the Sabbath is followed by a Festival, the custom is, not to light a special candle as when it is followed by an ordinary day, but merely to look at the already-kindled Festival lights when reciting this benediction.

4. Blessed…holy. TRAD., the principal benediction of the Havdalah (‘Separating’ or ‘Distinguishing’) ceremony according to the version used when the Sabbath is followed by a Festival, first cited in the Talmud (B. Pes. 103b). Our text is very slightly abridged.

4. Blessed…season. TRAD., the benediction recited at the beginning of a Festival (and on other happy occasions), first cited in the Talmud (B. Pes. 7b).

4. All lean to the left…TRAD. The reason will be explained on p.31.

5. When earth is freed…NEW, by JDR.

5. Rise up, my love…MODERN, Song of Songs 2:11 f. Traditionally, the Song of Songs is read on the morning of the Sabbath in Pesach, though at one time it was read on the last two eves (Sof. 14:18). There is also a custom to read it after the Seder; hence it is found at the end of some Haggadot. The quotation from it in the present context was an innovation of SPJH.

5. The Karpas is dipped in salt water. TRAD. The Mishnah (Pes. 10:3) says that Chazeret, lettuce is to be dipped, but does not make clear in what. The custom of using Karpas, parsley, and of dipping it in salt water (or vinegar), symbolic of the tears shed by the Israelite slaves in Egypt, is first mentioned in medieval sources (Tos. Pes. 114a; Shulchan Aruch. O.Ch. 473:4; see Kasher, 101-106).

5. Blessed…earth. TRAD. The benediction to be recited, according to the Mishnah (Ber. 6:1), before eating any fruit or vegetable that grows on the ground.

6. The leader takes out…The plain reason for the three Matzot is that the top and bottom ones correspond to the two loaves of bread customary on the eve of the Sabbath or a Festival (in allusion, it is said, to the double portion of manna, Ex. 16:22) while the middle one represents the ‘bread of affliction’ (Deut. 16:3). Medieval sources also give fanciful explanations, e.g. that the three Marzot refer to the three Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) or the three measures of flour with which Sarah baked bread for the three angelic visitors (gen. 18:6). See Kasher, 61 f.

6. This is the bread of affliction…TRAD. An Aramaic formula first found, in various forms, in Gaonic Rites (SRA 113; Kasher 106-112; Goldschmidt, 7 ff.). The first sentence alludes to Deut. 16:3, the second is based on an invitation to the poor to share one’s meal found already in the Talmud (B. Taan. 20b).

6. ‘Here’ is wherever…NEW, by JDR.

7. Should I celebrate…MODERN. A new translation, by CS, of a poem entitles ‘1959, Russia’ by Samuel Halkin (1897-1960), a Soviet Yiddish poet who suffered exile in Siberia, included in NUH (46-48) with another translation.

8. How different is this night…TRAD. First found in the Mishnah (Pes. 10:4) but substantially modified in the Gaonic Rites (SRA 113; Kasher, 112-117; Goldschmidt, 10-13).

8. You are free to ask…NEW, by CS.

9. From the questions…NOVEL from the Mechilta d’R. Shim’on ben Yochai to Ex. 13:14.

9. According to their character…NOVEL, from the Mishnah (Pes. 10:4).

9 f. The Torah alludes…TRAD. First found, in divergent versions, in Rabbinic Literature (Mechilta to Ex. 13:14 and J. Pes. 10:4) and, further modified, in the Gaonic Rites (SRA 114; Kasher, 120-123; Goldschmidt, 22-29). Quotations as follows. The wise child: Deut. 6:20 and M. Pes. 10:8. The wicked child: Ex. 12:26 and 13:8. Th simple child: Ex. 13:14. The one who does not know how to ask: Ex. 13:8.

11. Our story begins…NOVEL, M. Pes.10:4.

11. We were slaves…TRAD., mentioned in the Talmud (B. Pes. 116a) which says that the 3rd- century Amora Samuel advocated this passage as fulfilling the principle to “begin with degradation and end with glory”. The full text is first found in Gaonic Rites (SRA 113 f.; Kasher 117-120).

12. There is a story…TRAD., first found in Gaonic Rites (SRA 114). The five rabbis live in Palestine in the 1st – 2nd centuries. B’ne B’rak was a place near Jaffa.

12 f. In the beginning…TRAD. First mentioned in the Talmud (B. Pes. 116a) as the passage favoured by the 3rd- century Babylonian Amora Rav against Samuel (see last Note but one). The full text, quoting Joshua 24:2 ff. is the first found in Gaonic Rites (SRA 114; Kasher, 27 ff.).

13. A wandering Aramean…TRAD., Deut. 26:5-8. Mentioned already in the Mishnah (Pes. 10:4) as the basis of the exposition which forms the bulk of the Haggadah-narrative. ‘Father’ (= ‘forefather’) refers to Abraham, or Jacob, or the Patriarchs collectively.

14. We began as wanderers…NEW, by CS.

14. We were strangers…NOVEL, From an unknown American source.

14. Though at first…NEW, by CS, quoting Ex. 6:9.

14. My very chains…NOVEL, from John Byron, The Prisoner of Chillon, XIV.

14, The real slavery…NOVEL, a saying of R. Chanoch of Aleksandrow (1798-1870, Poland) quoted by Martin Buber in tales of the Hasidim: The Later Masters, p.315.

15. Your ancestors numbered…TRAD., Deut. 10:22. First found in SRA (114).

15. It was not because…NOVEL, Deut. 7:7 f.

15. The fact that...TRAD., first found in SRA (114).

15. On the strength of four virtues…MODERN, Mechilta to Ex. 12:6, first used in NUH (p. 38).

15. The Israelites were fruitful…TRAD., Ex. 1:7, first found in SRA (114).

16. Now a new king arose…TRAD., Ex. 1:8-10, first found in SRA (114).

16. They set taskmasters over them…TRAD., Ex. 1:11, first found in SRA (114).

16. The Egyptians subjected…TRAD., Ex. 1:13 f. first found in SRA (114).

16. After many long years…TRAD., Ex. 2:23, first found in SRA (114).

17. God heard their groans…TRAD., 2:24, first found in SRA (114).

17. and God said…NOVEL, Ex. 3:7.

17. This refers particularly to the breaking up of family life…TRAD., first found in SRA (114) but based on an earlier legend to the effect that the Egyptians forbade the Israelites to procreate (B. Sotah 74b). The proof-text (why it was so interpreted, is not clear) is Ex. 2:25.

18. This refers particularly to the murder of their children…TRAD., first found in SRA (114), quoting Ex. 1:22.

18. God was grieved…NOVEL, Judges 10:16.

18. In all their afflictions…NOVEL, Isa. 63:9.

18. Wherever they went into exile…NOVEL, B. Meg. 29a.

18. Now the cry…NOVEL, Ex. 3:9.

18. Not by an angel…TRAD., first found in SRA (114) but based on a passage in the Palestinian Talmud (Sanhedrin 2:1 and Horayot 3:1).

19. This refers to the revelation…TRAD., first found in SRA (114), quoting Deut. 4:34.

19. No liberation is easy…NEW, by JDR and CS.

19. It is customary…TRAD. The custom is mentioned in medieval sources (Shulchan Aruch. O. Ch. 473:7, gloss; Kasher, 126 f.). Our interpretation of it is based on that of Don Isaac Abravanel (1437-1508) who related it to the injunction. “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls”. Prov. 24:17. For the Ten Plagues see Ex. 7:14-12:36.

20. When the cup of suffering had run over…NEW, by CS.

20. When Israel stood…NOVEL, Mechilta to Ex. 14:22. Nachshon was a chieftain of the tribe of Judah; see Num. 2:3, 10:14.

20. The Sea did not part…NOVEL, Ex. R. 21:10.

20. The people overcame their fear…NEW, by CS.

20. Have no fear…NOVEL, Isa. 43:1 f.

21. When Israel saw…NOVEL. Ex. 14:31, referring to the crossing of the Red Sea.

21. At that time the ministering angels…MODERN, B. Meg. 10b. First used in the 1962 edition of the ULPS Haggadah, p10.

21. O God, teach us to rejoice in freedom…NEW, by CS.

21. That day is not yet…NEW, by JDR.

21. Have no fear…NOVEL, Isa. 41:10.

22. Blessed be the One who keeps the promise…TRAD., first found in SRA (114). The traditional text goes on to quote Gen. 15:13 f.

22. That promise has…TRAD., first found in SRA (114).

22. In every generation…TRAD. The first sentence, quoting Ex. 13:8, occurs in the Mishnah (Pes. 10:5); the second sentence, quoting Deut. 6:23, is the first found in SRA (114).

23. The exodus from Egypt…NOVEL, from Gershom G. Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, 1st lecture, p. 19 (New York, 1941).

23. It was dark…NOVEL, ‘A Song of Passover’ by Chaya Zeldis, from The Reconstructionist, 20 March, 1964.

24 f. How many benefits…TRAD. & MODERN. The trad. Text, which concludes with the building of the Temple, is first found in SRA (115). In our version it is abridged but supplemented with five new verses, relating to the Prophets and post-biblical times. Similar attempts to bring this composition ‘up to date’ are to be found in the 1962 edition of the ULPS Haggadah and in the NUH.

26. Therefore we should thank…TRAD., first found in the Mishnah (Pes. 10:5).

27. Haleluyah…TRAD. The custom of reciting the Hallel (‘Praise’) Psalms (113-118) during the Seder is mentioned already in the Mishnah (Pes. 10:6 f.).

28. When Israel went forth…TRAD. See preceding Note.

29. We raise our cups…MODERN. See the second Note to p.3.

29. Blessed are YouRedeemer of Israel. TRAD., known as G’ullah, ‘Redemption’, first cited in the Mishnah (pes. 10:6). Our version is slightly abridged, omitting a phrase about the hope for restoration of the sacrificial cult.

29. Blessed…vine. TRAD. See corresponding Note to p. 3.

29. Rabban Gamliel…TRAD., already in the Mishnah (Pes. 10:5). The reference is to Rabban Gamliel I, grandson of Hillel, who was Patriarch of Palestinian Jewry before the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in 70 C.E.

30. Why, in the days when the Temple stood still…TRAD. Alluded to in the Mishnah (Pes. 10:5), otherwise first found in SRA (115), quoting Ex. 12:27.

30. When the Temple still stood…NEW, by CS and JDR.

30. The egg reminds us…NEW, by JDR and CS.

31. Why do we eat this unleavened bread…TRAD. Alluded to in the Mishnah (Pes. 10:5), otherwise first found in SRA (115), quoting Ex. 12:39.

31. When we eat the Matzah…NEW, by JDR and CS. The custom of ‘learning’ or ‘reclining’ is mentioned already in the Mishnah (Pes. 10:1). The Palestinian Talmud comments: “To show that they had come forth from slavery to freedom2 (Pes. 10:1). Medieval sources record various opinions as to whether the custom applies to women as well as men, and whether it should be observed at all (Shulchan Aruch, O.Ch. 472:2-7; Kasher 68-76).

31. The Jewish inmates…NOVEL, from Philip Goodman, The Passover Anthology (The Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia, 1962), p. 383.

32. Blessed…to bring forth bread. TRAD., the benediction to be recited before eating bread, as ordained in the Mishnah (Ber. 6:1). It alludes to Psalm 104:14.

32. Why do we eat these bitter herbs…TRAD. Alluded to in the Mishnah (Pes. 10:5); otherwise first found in SRA (115), quoting Ex. 1:14.

32. Before eating the Maror…NEW, by JDR. Further on the Charoset, see Shulchan Aruch, O.CH. 473:5 and Kasher 62-64.

33. Blessed…to eat bitter herbs. TRAD., first found, in a slightly different working, in SRA (116).

33. This is what Hillel used to do…TRAD., quoting Num. 9:11, alluded to the Tosefta (Pes. 2:14) and Talmud (B. Pes. 115a) and included (in various versions) in the Gaonic and subsequent Rites (SRA 117; Kasher 169 ff.). Hillel was the leading Pharisaic teacher in Palestine in the last decades of the 1st century B.C.E.

34. The Afikoman…NEW, by JDR. The mysterious statement of the Mishnah (Pes. 10:8) is debated in the Talmud (B. Pes. 199b) between Rav and Samuel, the former taking it as a prohibition against going ‘from company to company’, the latter as forbidding a ‘savoury’ or ‘dessert’. The suggestion that ‘Afikoman’ comes from the Greek aphikomenos, meaning ‘the One that cometh’ (i.e. the Messiah), was first made by Robert Eisler in 1925 and revived by Professor David Daube in a lecture in the Crypt of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, in 1966. (The lecture was subsequently published in a pamphlet.)

34. This piece of Matzah is also called…NEW, by CS and JDR, quoting Psalm 31:20.

34 f. A Song of Ascents. TRAD. The custom of chanting Pslam 126 before the Thanksgiving for the meal on Sabbaths and Festivals has been traced back to the year 1603 (Abrahams, 208).

35. Let us praise God…TRAD. This and the following introductory formulae are cited already in the Mishnah (Ber. 7:3) and Talmud (J. Ber. 7:2; B. Ber. 45a-b, 49b-50a).

36. Blessed…Sustainer of all. TRAD., the first of the four benedictions constituting Birkat ha-Mazon, the ‘Thanksgiving for Food’, which institution, derived from Deut. 8:10 is mentioned already in Josephus (Wars of the Jews, II, 8:5). The text is first cited in the Talmud (B. Ber. 48b).

36 f. We thank You…for the land and for the food. TRAD., the second of the four benedictions, quoting Deut. 8:10. For ‘the Covenant You have sealed into our flesh’, we have substituted ‘…into our hearts’ (cf. Deut/ 10:16 and 30:6), so that the phrase may be appropriately recited by men and women alike.

37 f. Have compassion…who in compassion will build Jerusalem. TRAD., the third of the four benedictions, slightly abridged. In the first sentence we have omitted a clause referring to Zion, the Davidic monarchy, and the Temple, and inserted “and on all inhabitants of Your world”. Likewise, in the interpolation for the Sabbath we have substituted ‘the consolation of Your people and the redemption of mankind’ for ‘the consolation of Your city Zion and the rebuilding of Your holy city Jerusalem’ so as to make explicit the broader, symbolic meaning implicit (not to the exclusion of the narrower, literal meaning) in these references to Zion and Jerusalem, and to suggest that the last two sentences of the benediction should be so understood.

38-40. Blessed are You…bless this people with peace. TRAD., the last of the four benedictions, which however, lacks a concluding eulogy. According to the Talmud (J. Taan. 4:5; B. Ber. 48b; B. Taan. 31a) it was introduced after the Bar Kochba Rebellion of 132-135 C.E; but many sentences, especially those beginning ‘May the Merciful One…’, were inserted much later, in the Middle Ages and subsequently (Abrahams, 209 f.). The text includes allusions to Prov. 3:4 and Job 25:2, and ends with Psalm 29:11.

40. We raise our cups…MODERN. See the first two Notes to page 3.

41-43. Praise the Eternal One…TRAD. Here the recitation of Hallel (see the Note to p. 27) is resumed, traditionally with Psalms 115-118. We, however, omit Psalms on the six days of Pesach, one reason being that, on account of the drowning of the Egyptians in the Red Sea, we should restrain our rejoicing on principle of “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls” (Prov. 24:17; Pesikta d’R. Kahana, ed. Mandelbaum, II, 458); and it seems to us appropriate to apply that principle in the Seder also.

43. Let all creation praise You…TRAD. The recitation of Psalm 136, known as Hallel ha-Gadol, ‘the Great Hallel’, over the fourth cup of wine, is mentioned already in the Talmud (B. Pes. 118a).

45-47. Let all the living…TRAD. Alluded to in the Talmud (B. Pes. 118a) as R. Yochanan’s (3rd century, Palestine) identification of the ‘Benediction of Song’ (see last Note but one). The Nishmat, as it is called from its opening word, is also mentioned elsewhere in the Talmud (B. Ber. 59b; B. Taan. 6b). Scriptural quotations: Psalms 35:10 and 103:1.

47. O great and holy God and Ruler…TRAD. This doxology traditionally concludes the ‘Verses of Song’ of the daily morning service, where it is found already in SRA (10). Its inclusion in the Haggadah seems to date from the Middle Ages (Beyt Yosef to Arba-ah Turim, O.Ch. 486).

48. We raise our cups…MORDERN. See first two Notes to p. 3.

48. Blessed…vine. TRAD. See corresponding Note to p. 3.

48. The cup of Elijah is filled. TRAD. That there should be a fifth cup is stated in the Talmud (B. Pes. 118a) in the name of R. Tarfon (1st-2nd centuries, Palestine); its derivation from the fifth verb of the Ex. 6:6-8 passage is first found in 12th century sources (see Kasher 94 f.). Of the medieval Jewish authorities, some, like Maimonides, considered the custom commendable but optional; others, like Abraham ben David of Posquières, considered it obligatory (ibid.). The designation of the fifth cup as the ‘Cup of Elijah’ is first found in a commentary (Chok Yaakov) by Jacob Reischer (1670-1733, Bohemia) on the Shulchan Aruch (O.Ch. 480, Note 6).

48. The door is opened. TRAD. This custom originated in the Middle Ages and was widely practised by the 16th century (see Kasher, 180). It was both a precaution against informers (in view of the ‘blood accusation’) and an expression of trust in God’s protection and of hope for the speedy coming of the messianic age, heralded by the return of the prophet Elijah. Traditionally, the door is opened immediately after the Thanksgiving for the Meal, while a passage beginning “Pour out Your wrath upon the nations that do not acknowledge You…” (Psalms 79:6 f., 69:25 and Lamentations 3:66) is recited. To us it seemed preferable that the door should be opened here, at the climax of the whole Seder, where it can be associated with the Fifth Cup, the Cup of Elijah, and that the imprecation “Pour out Your wrath…” should be replaced by a more positive expression of messianic hope.

48. With the fourth cup of wine…MORDERN. See the first to Notes to p. 3.

48. But with Torah records a fifth promise…NOVEL, quoting Ex. 6:8.

48 f. Should we then drink a fifth cup…NEW, by Andrew Goldstein, Julia Neuberger and JDR,  quoting Malachi 3:23 f.: the 12th of the ‘Thirteen Principles of the Faith’, based on an excurses in Moses Maimonides’ (1135-1204, Egypt) Mishnah Commentary, as included in traditional Jewish prayerbooks; Zechariah 14:9; Isa. 11:9; Micah 4:4.

50 f. It came to pass at midnight…TRAD. A piyyut (liturgical poem) by Yannai, who probably lived in Palestine in the 6th or 7th century, with an alphabetic acrostic which the new translation (by JDR) attempts to reproduce in English. Its inclusion in the Haggadah dates from about the 12th century (see Kasher, 188; Goldschmidt, 96).

51 f. To God praise belongs…TRAD. A piyyut of unknown authorship which has been traced back to German, Italian and English Haggadot of the 13th century (see Kasher 189, Goldschmidt 97), with an alphabetic acrostic which the new translation (by JDR) attempts to reproduce in English. Possibly by R. Jacob ben Judah of London (13th century; see EJ, vol. II, p. 256).

52 ff. Ancient are You…TRAD. A piyyut of unknown authorship which first appeared in Haggadot of the 14th century (see Kasher 190; Goldschmidt 97) with an alphabetic acrostic which the new translation (by JDR) attempts to reproduce in English. We have changed the phrase yivneh veyto b’karov, “soon may He rebuild His Temple”, to yig-alenu b’karov, “soon may You redeem us”, and the refrain b’neh veyt’cha b’karov, “rebuild Your Temple speedily”, to p’deh amm’cha b’karov, “save Your people speedily”.

54 ff. Who knows one? TRAD. A composition of unknown authorship which has been traced back to the 15th century and was probably modelled on earlier, non-Jewish prototypes (see Kasher 190; Goldschmidt 98).

56 ff. One kid, one kid…TRAD. A composition of unknown authorship in mixed Hebrew and Aramaic which has been traced back to the 15th century but was probably modelled on earlier, German prototypes (Kasher, 190 f.: Goldschmidt, 98). Its theme is paralleled by a number of passages in Rabbinic Literature (M. Avot 2:6; Gen. R. 38:13; B. Bava Batra 10a).

58. God of might…MODERN. A poem by Rabbi Gustav Gottheil (1827-1903, Germany, England and USA) which was first included in the 1955 edition of SPJH.

58. When Israel was in Egypt land…NOVEL. North American negro spiritual.

58. When Israel went forth from Egypt…NOVEL. Psalm 114:1-3.

59. The voice of my beloved…NOVEL. Song of Songs 2:8, included here, like the next three songs, because the Song of Songs is traditionally read during Pesach (see second Note to p. 5).

59. My beloved is mine…NOVEL. Song of Songs 6:3, 4:9, 3:6, 4:16.

59. Where has your beloved gone…NOVEL. Song of Songs 6:1 f.

59. I went down to the garden of nut-trees…NOVEL. Song of Songs 6:11, 7:12 f., 4:16.

60. Said the parents to the children…NOVEL. The source of this ‘ballad’ is unknown to us, but is attributed to one ‘Ben Aronin’ and may be sung to the tune of ‘Clementine’.

61. Since the Exodus…NOVEL, from Heinrich Heine, Deutschland bis Luther (we have taken it from A Treasury of Jewish Quotations, edited by Joseph L. Baron, Crown Publishers, Inc., New York, 1956, p. 133).

61. We have dedicated this festival…MODERN, from The New Haggadah, edited by Mordecai M. Kaplan, Eugene Kohn and Ira Eisenstein (Behrman House; New York, 1942), pp.11-13.

61. Liberty or freedom has been abused…NOVEL. Claude G. Montefiore, The Bible for Home Reading (Macmillan & Co. Ltd., London, 1899), Vol. I, p. 74.