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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

    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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alan Menachemson

    Readable for ever

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ayelet

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

  6. 4 out of 5

    Malcster

  7. 5 out of 5

    Evan

  8. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  10. 5 out of 5

    Seth

  11. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

  12. 4 out of 5

    Harris Goodman

  13. 4 out of 5

    Leo Mercer

  14. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nina

  16. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lawrence

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

  19. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brahm

  22. 4 out of 5

    Matt Reingold

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jack Dweck

  24. 5 out of 5

    Aron Raskas

  25. 4 out of 5

    Helyn

  26. 5 out of 5

    Estee

  27. 4 out of 5

    Diana Rosenfelder

  28. 5 out of 5

    Eli Weinstein

  29. 4 out of 5

    Leonard

  30. 4 out of 5

    Isaac

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