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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 2, 2004 /12 Nissan, 5764

The Hagadah: Story of a People in flux

By Rabbi Berel Wein

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Pay close attention to the primary Passover text you pick. It says much about the society we live — and lived — in


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | As Pesach is perhaps the most beloved and observed of Jewish holidays, so is its story as related in the Hagadah a source of unusually great Jewish pride and affection.


Over the many centuries since its basic format was codified and set (approximately in the seventh century CE) the Hagadah has appeared in numerous editions and formats. In the High Middle Ages, when illumination of scrolls and later printed books were in vogue, the Hagadah was also the subject of the illuminator's art. There are a number of famous illuminated Hagadahs that are still extant with us.

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The Rylands Hagadah, a page of which is pictured above, is located in Manchester, England and contains some of the most beautiful art work and decorative touches in all Hebraica. The famous "Birds' Heads" Hagadah, a replica of which can be seen in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, shows all of the human characters portrayed in the Hagadah as having the heads of a birds instead of that of human beings. This is in line with the opinion of some, under Jewish law, that a human figure should not be rendered faithfully as that could perhaps violate the prohibition against idols and their creation.


Of note, in these medieval Hagadahs, is the fact that the Jews portrayed are all wearing "Jew hats." The Church forced the Jews to wear ludicrous looking hats as a penance and punishment for their obstinate refusal to renounce Judaism and accept Christianity. These hats, some formed like a dunce cap or having a ridiculous ball tied to them, were instead converted by the Jews into a badge of pride to their loyalty to Torah and the G-d of Israel. As you may have noticed, many Jews still have a penchant for wearing strange hats, a practice which the general non-Jewish society in the Western world has long ago abandoned.


One of the more fascinating features of the different editions of the Hagadah over the ages is how the "ben rasha" — the "bad son" — is portrayed in the illustrations.


In early times, he is portrayed as a Greek thespian or as a Roman gladiator. In medieval times, he was either the rough, coarse, unlettered peasant or the equally brutal and cruel wandering knight. In later Hagadahs, the "bad son" was portrayed as being foppish and a dilettante in appearance. In early twentieth century American Hagadahs, he appears as a member of an organized crime gang, cigarette dangling from his lips and a large hat pushed back on his head. In certain Hagadahs published in Eastern Europe and later also in Israel, the "bad son" was portrayed as the leader or member of a certain religious or political group that the publisher of the Hagadah strongly disapproved of. One can learn a great deal about Jewish life, past and present, not only by reading and studying the Hagadah but also by just looking at the pictures.


There have been numerous revisionist Hagadahs printed and distributed over the centuries. In the early twentieth century, the believing Leftists amongst us produced a Hagadah according to the teachings of Marx and Engels. It was intended not so much to remember the Exodus from Egypt as it was to extol the wonders of socialism and communism and trumpet the collapse of the capitalist chains that enslaved the proletariat.


Somehow, Stalin diminished the popularity of this Hagadah though there are still kibbutzim in Israel that have such Leftist Hagadahs in use. Jews are true believers till the end. For all of us raised in the United States in the early and middle parts of the last century, the "Maxwell House" Hagadah was a staple of our existence. Many food companies and supermarkets produced Hagadahs that they distributed "free" to their customers.


Today, there are all types of Hagadahs available, ranging from erudite scholarly works to beautifully illustrated books for young children. Every Pesach brings with it new editions of the great old Hagadah. The Hagadah of Pesach should not just be reserved for the Seder night of Pesach alone. It has much to teach us at any time of the year.

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JWR contributor Rabbi Berel Wein is one of Jewry's foremost historians and founder of the Destiny Foundation. He has authored over 650 tapes, books and videos which you can purchase at RabbiWein.com. Comment by clicking here.

© 2004, Rabbi Berel Wein