The Text of the Haggadah
customarily recited by the Jews in the time of exile.
One begins, [pouring out] the second cup and recites:
In haste, we left Egypt.
This is the bread of affliction eaten by our ancestors in the land of Egypt. Whoever is hungry, let him come and eat. Whoever is needy, let him come and join in the observance of Passover. This year we are here. Next year, may we be in Eretz Yisrael. Now we are slaves. Next year, may we be free men.
Why is this night different from all other nights?
On all other nights, we are not required to dip even once. On this night, we dip twice?
On all other nights, we eat chametz (leaven) or matzah. On this night, only matzah?
On all other nights, we eat any type of vegetables. On this night, we eat maror (bitter herbs)?
On all other nights, we eat either sitting upright or reclining. On this night, we all recline?
We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, but God, our Lord, brought us out from there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. If the Holy One, blessed be He, had not taken our ancestors out of Egypt, then we, our children, and our grandchildren, would still be enslaved to Pharaoh in Egypt.
[Therefore,] even if we were all wise, all men of understanding, all elders, all well-versed in Torah, we would still be commanded to tell about the Exodus from Egypt, for whoever tells about it at length, behold, he is worthy of praise.
Once Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Yehoshua, Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah, Rabbi Akiva, and Rabbi Tarfon dined together [at the Seder] in Bnei Brak. They discussed the Exodus from Egypt throughout the entire night until their students came and told them: "Teachers, the time for reciting the Shemah in the morning has arrived."
Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah said to them: I am like a seventy-year-old man. Nevertheless, I did not merit [to understand the reason for the obligation] to recall the Exodus from Egypt at night until ben Zoma interpreted the verse: "In order that you remember the day you left Egypt all the days of your life."
[The phrase] "the days of your life" refers to the days; [adding the word] "all" includes the nights.
The Sages interpreted [the verse]: "the days of your life" refers to the present world; "all the days of your life" indicates the Messianic era.
Blessed be the Omnipresent, who has given the Torah to Israel; blessed be He.
The Torah speaks of four sons: one wise, one wicked, one simple, and one who does not know how to ask.
The wise son, what does he say? "What are the testimonies, statutes, and laws that God, our Lord, has commanded you?"
You should thus reply to him, [teaching him] the laws of Pesach [until the final concept]: one may not eat any dessert after the Paschal sacrifice.
The wicked son, what does he say? "What is this service to you?" [By saying,] "to you," [he implies]: "but not to himself." Since he has excluded himself from the people at large, he denies the foundation of our faith.
Therefore, you should blunt his teeth and tell him: "It is because of this, what God did for me when I went out of Egypt." [By saying] "for me," [you imply]: "but not him." Had he been there, he would not have been redeemed.
The simple son, what does he say? "What is this?"
You should tell him: "With a strong hand, God brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage."
The son who does not know how to ask, you must open him up, as the verse states: "You shall tell your son on that day: 'It is because of this, what God did for me when I went out of Egypt.'"
"You shall tell your son on that day." Does [the obligation to relate the narrative of Pesach begin] on the first of the month? The Torah teaches [ibid.]: "[You shall tell your son] on that day," [-i.e., on the day of the Exodus].
From the phrase "on that day," one might infer "while it is still day." [Hence,] the Torah adds "it is because of this." Thus, [the obligation begins only] when matzah and maror are placed before you.
In the beginning, our ancestors were worshipers of other gods, but now the Omnipresent has drawn us close to His service, as it is stated: "So God, the Lord of Israel, says: 'Your ancestors had always lived beyond the [Euphrates] River, Terach, the father of Abraham and Nachor, and they served other gods.'"
"'And I took your Patriarch, Abraham, from beyond the river and led him through the land of Canaan. I multiplied his descendants and I gave him Isaac.'"
"'To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. To Esau, I gave Mount Seir to inherit, but Jacob and his children went down to Egypt.'"
Blessed be He Who keeps His promise to Israel, blessed be He, for the Holy One, blessed be He, calculated the end of [our bondage] in order to fulfill His pledge to Abraham [made] in the covenant bayn habetarim, as it is stated:
"And He said to Abram: 'Know with certainty that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not their own. [The natives] will enslave them and oppress them for 400 years. But, ultimately, I will execute judgement upon the nation they shall serve and, afterwards, they shall leave with great wealth.'"
It is this that has stood by our ancestors and us. It is not only one that has risen up against us to destroy us. Rather, in every generation, they rise against us to annihilate us. However, the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from their hand.
Go and learn what Laban attempted to do to our Patriarch, Jacob. Pharaoh decreed only against the males, but Laban attempted to uproot everything, as it is stated:
"An Aramean sought to destroy my father; he descended to Egypt and sojourned there - This teaches that our Patriarch, Jacob, did not go down to Egypt with the intention of settling there, but merely to sojourn there, as it is stated:
"And they told Pharaoh: We have come to sojourn in this land, for there is no pasture for the flocks of your servants, since there is a severe famine in the land of Canaan. Now, please let your servants dwell in the land of Goshen."
with a small number of people--as it is stated: "Your ancestors went down to Egypt with seventy persons. Now, God has made you as numerous as the stars of the heaven."
There, he became a nation--This teaches that Israel were distinct there.
great, powerful,-- as it is stated: "and the children of Israel were fruitful, became prolific, multiplied, and became very, very powerful. The land became full with them."
and populous-- as it is stated: "I made you as numerous as the plants of the field. You grew and developed, becoming very attractive, your breasts firm and your hair grown long; but you were naked and bare."
And the Egyptians were cruel to us.--as it is stated: "Come, let us deal cleverly with them, lest they multiply. Then, if there were a war, they might join our enemies and drive [us] out of the land."
They made us suffer-- as it is stated: "They placed task masters over them to oppress them with hard labor. And they built Pitom and Ra'amses as supply centers for Pharaoh."
and imposed harsh slavery upon us-- as it is stated: "And the Egyptians made the children of Israel do backbreaking labor."
We cried out to God, the Lord of our fathers-- as it is stated: "After those many days, the king of Egypt died. The children of Israel groaned because of the work. When they cried out over their slavery, their pleas rose up before God."
God heard our voice.-- as it is stated: "God heard our cries and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."
He saw our suffering,-- This refers to the disruption of family life, as it is stated: "God saw the children of Israel and God took note."
our difficult labor,-- This refers to the children, as it is stated: "Every boy who is born must be cast into the river, but every girl shall be allowed to live."
and our distress-- this refers to the pressure [applied by the Egyptians], as it is stated: "I have also seen the oppression which the Egyptians are applying to them."
God brought us out of Egypt-- not by the medium of an angel, not by the medium of a seraph, nor by the medium of any agent. Rather, [it was] the Holy One, blessed be He; He, Himself, in His glory, as it is stated:
"I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night and I will slay every firstborn in the land of Egypt, from man to beast. I will execute judgements against all the gods of Egypt. I, God."
with a mighty hand-- This refers to the epidemic, as it is stated: "Behold, the hand of God will be directed against your cattle in the field, against the horses, the asses and camels, the oxen and the sheep, with a very severe epidemic."
with an outstretched arm-- This refers to the sword, as it is stated: "His unsheathed sword is in his hand, stretched out over Jerusalem."
with great visions-- This refers to the revelation of the Divine Presence, as it is stated: "Has God ever performed miracles, coming to take one nation out of the midst of another nation with miracles, signs, wonders, war, a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and with terrifying phenomena, as God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?"
signs-- This refers to the staff, as it is stated: "Take this staff in your hand, with which you shall perform the signs."
and wonders-- This refers to the blood, as it is stated: "I will reveal wonders in heaven and earth: Blood, fire, and columns of smoke."
Another interpretation: [of the above verse: Each phrase is associated with two plagues:]
with a mighty hand: two;
and with an outstretched arm: two;
and with great visions: two;
and with signs: two;
and with wonders: 3two.
These are the ten plagues which the Holy One, blessed be He, brought upon the Egyptians in Egypt: They are:
Blood, frogs, lice, wild beasts, epidemic,
boils, hail, locusts, darkness, slaying of the firstborn.
Rabbi Yehudah coined an abbreviation for them:
detzach, adash, b'achav
Rabban Gamliel would say: Whoever does not discuss the following three things on Pesach has not fulfilled his obligation. They are: the Paschal sacrifice, matzah, and maror.
The Paschal sacrifice that our ancestors would eat during the time the Temple was standing--what is its reason?
Because the Holy One, blessed be He, passed over the houses of our ancestors in Egypt, as it is stated: "You shall say, 'It is a Pesach sacrifice for God, because He passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, striking the Egyptians and saving our homes.' The people bowed down and prostrated themselves."
This matzah we eat--what is its reason?
Because the dough of our ancestors did not have time to become leavened before the King of kings, the Holy One, blessed be He, revealed Himself to them and redeemed them, as it is stated: "They baked matzah cakes from the dough that they had brought out of Egypt, because it had not risen; for they had been driven out of Egypt and could not delay; nor had they prepared any [other] provisions for themselves."
This maror we eat--what is its reason?
Because the Egyptians embittered the lives of our ancestors in Egypt, as it is stated: They made the Jews' lives bitter with hard service, with mortar and with bricks, and with all manner of service in the field; their entire service at which they made them slave vigorously.
In every generation, a person is obligated to regard himself as if he had left Egypt. It was not only our ancestors whom the Holy One, blessed be He, redeemed from Egypt; rather, He redeemed us, as it is stated: "He brought us out from there, so that He might bring us to the land He promised our fathers, and give it to us."
Therefore, we are obliged to thank, praise, laud, glorify, exalt, magnify, adore, and give eternal honor to the One who did all these miracles for us and for our ancestors. He took us out from slavery to freedom, from servitude to redemption, from sorrow to joy, from mourning to festivity, and from deep darkness to great light. [Therefore,] let us recite before Him: Halleluyah!
Halleluyah! Servants of God--offer praise; praise the name of God. May God's name be blessed...
[one continues reciting the Psalms] until
the flint-stone into a stream of water.
Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the Universe who redeemed us and redeemed our ancestors from Egypt and has enabled us to reach this night so that we may eat matzah and maror upon it. So too, God, our Lord and Lord of our fathers, enable us to reach other festivals and holidays that will come to us in peace, celebrating in the rebuilding of Your city and rejoicing in Your service. Then, we shall eat of the sacrifices and of the Paschal offerings whose blood shall reach the wall of Your altar to be graciously accepted. Then, we shall offer thanks to You [with] a new song for our redemption and for the deliverance of our souls. Blessed are You, God, who redeemed Israel.
According to the order with which one recites the blessings and the Haggadah on the first night of Pesach, one recites the blessings and the Haggadah on the second night, which was [instituted because of] the exile. Similarly, on the second night, we are obligated in the four cups [of wine] and the other practices of the first night.
With the help of heaven, this concludes the text of the Haggadah and concludes the halachot of the Pesach Seder and the laws pertaining to chametz and matzah.