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Exploring the Rebbe’s Haggadah

A gateway to the laws, practices, liturgy, symbolism, and history of the seder

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In 1946 the Rebbe published a new commentary to the Haggadah under the title Haggadah for Passover with Collected Customs and Reasons. In his review of this work, Rabbi Shlomo Yosef Zevin, editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia Talmudit, lauded it as “a wondrous Haggadah, with few comparable to it,” noting its encyclopedic scope and its concision, as well as the original insights and explanations that the Rebbe offers. To study the Rebbe’s Haggadah is to open a broad gateway to the laws, practices, liturgy, symbolism, and history of the seder. Join Rabbi Isser Zalman Weisberg on an in-depth journey of scholarship and discovery.

What Does Reclining Symbolize?
Audio | 16:31
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What Does Reclining Symbolize?
Reclining at the Seder, Part 1
A close analysis and contextualization of the Rebbe’s gloss on "he'seibah"
Should Women Recline?
Audio | 23:17
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Should Women Recline?
Reclining at the Seder, Part 2
An overview of a Halachic discussion spanning the centuries and leaving ambiguities unresolved.
Reclining as Remembrance
Audio | 26:00
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Reclining as Remembrance
Reclining at the Seder, Part 3
The Rebbe's gloss as a redefinition of "he'seibah," explaining why it isn't practiced by women
When Should We Recline?
Audio | 25:17
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When Should We Recline?
Reclining at the Seder, Part 4
The implications of different understandings of ‘heseibah’ for when we should and shouldn't recline.
The Question of Reclining and of Dipping Matzah in Salt
Reclining at the Seder, Part 5
Different opinions about dipping matzah in salt at the seder might explain an interesting practice of the Rebbe.
Analyzing “Hei Lachma Anya”
Audio | 25:24
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Analyzing “Hei Lachma Anya”
Kabbalistic and Halachic considerations on whether to say "hei" or "ha"
An in-depth look at the Rebbe's glosses and the sources they point to regarding the question of how the opening passage of the Haggadah should read.
Stages of Redemption in “Hei Lachma Anya”
An analysis of the opening passage of the Haggadah
Exploring the rebbe's gloss alongside other commentaries on the last part of hei-lachma-anya, which seems to state the same theme of yearning for redemption twice.
Telling the Story of the Exodos Part 1
Who should be telling whom?
Exploring the nature of Sipur Yetzias Mitzrayim, in light of the Rebbe's glosses.
Telling the Story of the Exodos Part 2
How should the story be told?
If the story does not touch you, you have not fulfilled your obligation.
The Four Cups Explained
Audio | 23:04
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The Four Cups Explained
A detailed analysis of a seemingly cryptic gloss of the Rebbe
A fascinating in-depth look at the various reasons gives for the drinking of the four cups and their sources. A suggested explanation as to why the Rebbe lists them in the order that he does.
The Order of the Haggadah
Audio | 26:09
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The Order of the Haggadah
What is integral?
An intriguing analysis of the sources for the Haggadah.
The Mystery of the Missing Verse
The interesting discovery of the Alter Rebbe and the Vilna Goan
A passage accidentally omitted from every Haggadah for a thousand years is finally restored.
Background of the Haggadah, Part 1
The evolution of the Siddur & Torah Shel Baal Peh
Exactly when was the Siddur and Haggadah formulated? Who was it formulated by? Was it written down once it was formulated?
Background of the Haggadah, Part 2
The emergence of the first text of the Siddur & Haggadah
What caused Rav Amram Gaon to finally redact the complete text of the siddur?
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