Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’s Haggadah: Hebrew And English Text With New Essays And Commentary

Jonathan Sacks
Publisher: Continuum
“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.’ Nor could I find a Haggada that told me in detail about the role of Pesach in shaping Jewish identity through the millennia, or its influence on Western thought as a whole.” -Jonathan Sacks
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. In passage after passage, Rabbi Sacks celebrates the magnificence and uniqueness of Judaism and shows how the Pesach story is not primarily about a distant past and an equally distant future but about the present and the values by which we should strive to live.

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