The Biblical Passover Haggadha


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Karaite Passover Haggadha
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For the last 3500 years, Israelites all over the world have been telling over the story of the Exodus on the night of the Passover. The Exodus story is read from a "Haggadha", a Hebrew word which means "telling over". Arranging diverse biblical passages into a running narrative, the Karaite Haggadha uses the words of the Hebrew Bible itself to tell over the story of the Exodus from Egypt. Now a newly revised Karaite Haggadha is available with a new English translation by Hakham Meir Rekhavi. Bound in a full colour graphic designed cover, the newly revised Haggadha has the English translation side-by-side with the Hebrew Masoretic text. This newly revised Karaite Haggadha also includes an introduction to the Haggadha, the Passover Seder, and the laws of Passover.

The Tora teaches us that the night of the 15th of the First Month is to be a "night of watching". In ancient times, the Passover sacrifice was brought on this evening and the Children of Yisrael sat up all night eating the meat of the sacrifice lest any be left until morning.

During this nighttime vigil, they told their children the great miracle of the Exodus from Egypt and the redemption of Israel.

Today we are unable to bring the Passover sacrifice. On a daily basis, our Temple is trodden by heathens while the altar lies in ruins. Therefore, we are unable to actually bring a sacrifice as commanded:

"You shall not be allowed to slaughter the Pesah [Passover] within one of your gates, which YHWH your God gives to you. But to the place that YHWH your God shall choose to have his name dwell, there you shall slaughter the Pesah [Passover] at evening, when the sun comes, at the appointed time of your going out from Misrayim [Egypt]." (Deut. 16:5-6)

Without the Passover Sacrifice all we have left is the night of watching on which we tell over the story of the Exodus. The Haggadha is the narrative of the Exodus from Egypt that is read on Pesah (Passover) Night at the Sedher, a word that means 'order'. The name Haggadha comes from the Hebrew word meaning to tell or to relate and this is the very function of the Haggadha, to relate the events of the Exodus, "And in order that you may tell in the ears of your son and of your son's son, that I acted severely in Misrayim, and my signs that I have placed upon them; that you may know that I am YHWH." (Ex. 10:2) Therefore, it is the duty of the head of the family to recount the story of the Exodus from Egypt and to explain its significance to the children and adults alike.

The slavery in Egypt and the redemption from that bondage are told in the early chapters of the Book of Exodus, which relate to YHWH's promises and deeds in connection with our redemption, and it is from those chapters that the majority of the material for the newly revised Karaite Haggadha is drawn. This Haggadha is therefore a truly Biblical Haggadha giving a full narrative of that miraculous event, from the promise of nationhood by YHWH to Avraham, to the enslavement in Egypt and Moshe's call at Mt. Sinai to be YHWH's prophet. Continuing through to YHWH's great wonders and marvels that manifested in the plagues that befell Egypt to the final act of that great redemption at the shores of the Sea of Reeds. The last pages of this Haggadha reiterate the promise of the future redemption, as foretold by our great prophets, which will be not unlike the first redemption from Egypt.