A 20-page companion to the Haggadah with essays written by Pardes faculty on each of the sections of the seder.
Pesach is a time of inclusion.
On seder night, there are two moments where we open our doors and invite others in. One is at
the opening of the Magid portion of the seder, when we say, “All who are hungry come and eat.”
There is a beautiful message here: we were once slaves; poor and hungry, and we remember our
redemption by sharing what we have with others.
The other, comes towards the end of the seder, when we open the door for Elijah the Prophet. This
is a statement of faith, a statement that says that although we are a free people, our redemption
is not yet complete, and we believe that it will come.
From the most downtrodden to the most celebrated, the message is clear: everyone is welcome,
and everyone is necessary. Why is it that we go out of our way to include all at our seder table?
Perhaps it is because when we make room for others, we have the opportunity to make room for
ourselves as well. In fact, the Mishnah (Pesahim 10:5) teaches us that:
The seder presents us with the obligation of identifying with the generation that left Egypt and
internalizing that experience. And through that internalization, we come to feel the redemption
as if it was our own as well.
Further, the reliving of the story of the Exodus affords us the opportunity לראות את עצמו – to
see one’s true self. It is only when we are able to see ourselves clearly, that we are able to be
redeemed. But perhaps the only way we are able to see ourselves, is when we are truly able to
see those around us.
This message of inclusion is Pardes’s message too, and our hope is that this Haggadah Companion
which offers something for everyone, will add new meaning to your seder and help bring the
Jewish people a little closer together.
Rabba Yaffa Epstein
Click here for other companions in the Pardes Holiday Companion Series.
Contributions from several members of our faculty