Chad Gadya

From a commentary by Elie Wiesel: And here we are, ready to conclude with Chad Gadya. This beautiful, innocent song tells the story of a father who buys a little goat for his son. But everything goes wrong: God’s creatures wound and devour one another, the elements try to destroy one another.

What a puzzling way to end a joyous meal. The song evokes the destiny of the Jewish people; that is clear. But who symbolizes the Jewish people? The child who receives the goat. The child, though saddened by the goat’s disappearance, remains til the end. But when is that? The end is when death is defeated. The end is the death of death.

The real meaning of the song may be that, in Jewish history, all creatures, all beings, all events are connected. The goat and the cat, the fire and the water, the slaughterer and the redeemer are all part of the story.

Sometimes stories are sad. Still, it is important to tell them and retell them, to live them again and again, this year and next, when we shall meet again around this Seder table.

haggadah Section: Commentary / Readings
Source: Elie Wiesel