Many have the custom to sing various post-Seder songs at the conclusion of the Passover Seder. Some of the classics include Chad Gadya (“One Goat”), Echad Mi Yodea ( “Who Knows One”).

The mix of songs is quite eclectic, and many were not originally connected to the Seder.

For example, Vayehi Bachatzi Halaila (“And It Was at Midnight”) was originally composed by Yannai (c. 5th–6th century) as an occasional addition to the Shabbat morning service, and it was only appended to the Seder much later.

Echad Mi Yodea and Chad Gadya were said to have been composed by Rabbi Elazar of Worms (c. 1176–1238) and became associated with the post-Seder singalong in the 16th century.

On a basic level, these songs are sung to keep the children awake. At the same time, each song has its own specific purpose. Some give perspective to our current long and bitter exile and remind us that, ultimately, our oppressors will get their comeuppance. Others serve to invoke our merits and reinforce our fundamental beliefs.

Many have asked: Why are these songs not included in the Chabad Haggadah?

“Made for All”

The reason why these songs aren’t included in the Haggadah is similar to why many additional liturgical hymns and songs aren’t included in the Chabad siddur.1

While there are many versions of the prayer book, they all follow the same basic format, presenting the prayers formulated and ordained by the Anshei Knesset HaGedolah (Men of the Great Assembly). There are variations with regard to the order of specific prayers, minor textual differences, and additional hymns that are not part of the core prayer service.

The kabbalists explain that the universal elements of the text correspond to our shared divine service, while the minor differences reflect the modes of divine service unique to each community. In fact, according to the kabbalists, there are twelve versions of the prayer book—one for each tribe of Israel, in accordance with each tribe's unique spiritual qualities.

Since most people don’t know which tribe they belong to, the Arizal (Rabbi Isaac Lura, foremost teacher of the 16th-century Safed school of Kabbalists) formulated his prayer book so that the text would be fitting for all souls and all modes of divine service.

It is for this reason that he didn’t include many of the relatively late liturgical hymns and songs. Although many of them were composed by great rabbis and contained deep meanings, they aren’t necessarily universal and compatible for all.

The Chabad siddur, which was edited by the first Chabad Rebbe, was based on this formulation of the Arizal. (For more on the uniqueness of this siddur, see The Chassidic Prayer Liturgy.)

The same reason applies to the supplemental liturgical hymns and songs in the Haggadah.

Even though he presumably did not chant these songs, the Rebbe would at times discuss the meanings and explanations contained therein.

The “Seder Never Ends”

Among the songs not included in the Chabad Haggadah is Chasal Suddur Pesach, “The Passover Seder Has Been Completed,” which many say just before completing the official part of the Seder.

There is good reason for this, the sixth Rebbe explained. For in truth, we are never really finished with the Seder, as the process of leaving Egypt is ongoing.2

We are meant to infuse our daily lives with the remembrance that G‑d took us out of Egypt, gave us His Torah and mandated us to transform the world and make it a dwelling place for the divine.

We pray that just as we were redeemed from Egypt, so too we will be redeemed from this exile. May it be speedily in our days!