“The Haggadah is like the theater sets and costumes and reviews of a play, without the actual play,” - Rabbi Noa Kushner of San Francisco.

“Reading the exodus is for the already free.” -author's childhood rabbi

Most Jews throughout history have not been free, whether from murderous regimes or famines or pandemics. What we have been is devoted to the idea that we deserve to be. “The Haggadah’s purpose is not, in fact, to present a narrative,” Rabbi Mendel Herson, associate dean of the Rabbinical College of America, explained to me. “It’s a how-to guide to finding our own personal liberation.”

The text of the Haggadah is not a retelling of the liberation story itself but a record of agreements and disagreements among its interpreters, because it is not the God-driven part of the story that we should be focused on but the human-driven one. God will come to help when God comes to help; the question is what we do between now and then.

[. . . ] we will do what millions of Jews have done before us: manifest our hope for liberation.

That is our obligation, and our privilege. All the more so in moments when the taste of freedom — from oppression, from want, from disease — is not yet ours.


haggadah Section: Maggid - Beginning
Source: Alana Newhouse for the New York Times