A 12th Century Passover Haggadah from Corpus Christi College: Influences and Commentary


By Rabbi Eli Brackman


One of the oldest manuscripts of a complete Siddur, prayer book, for the whole year (Siddur Kol Hashana) with a Passover Haggadah text is an 12th century Ashkenazi Siddur held at Corpus Christi College Oxford, known as CCC MS 133.[1] In this essay, we will present an introduction to the Siddur through an in-depth analysis of the Passover Haggadah text, including details of the manuscript, thoughts about the copier, suggestions about the date of the manuscript, and thirteen comparative studies in the Haggadah text with the aim of deciphering some of the key influences on the manuscript. The studies will lead us to argue that the liturgy of the prayers in England in the medieval period was not a fixed text but a mix of influences from Northern France and Germany - the place of origin of the leading rabbinical figures in the 12th - 13th century England. Towards the end of the 13th century, however, one can see the emergence of what seems to be a comprehensive distinct liturgy as found in the major work Etz Chaim compendium of Jewish law by Rabbi Jacob ben Judah Chazzan of London, in which major rabbinic figures of 13th century England are prominently quoted.


The Manuscript


The Ashkenazic Hebrew prayer book is in Franco-German Ashkenazi cursive Hebrew script, which was the script that was used in medieval England.[2] The manuscript has 352 pages with twelve or thirteen lines per page. In parts of the manuscript where there are lengthy sections of laws or particular prayers that are recorded numerous times due to slight differences for different holidays, the text is in smaller font allowing for nineteen lines per page.[3] On some of the pages of laws, the page is divided into two columns for prayers and laws: the prayers are in larger font with twelve lines on the page and the laws on nineteen lines.[4] Most of the manuscript has vocalization, though towards the end this phases out. The same hand that added the vocalisation seem to have made corrections, as can be seen in the Haggadah text.[5] There are also some instructions to the prayers. In the nineteenth century someone who found the manuscript added in the margin some sources of the prayers where they are easily identifiable in Psalms or the Hebrew Bible.[6]


Such a manuscript Siddur written on parchment would have been very expensive to procure, similar to a modern Sefer Torah. The 12th century Jewish community of England would have almost definitely used this manuscript for prayer; Jewish communities in Germany and France would have usually had only one such manuscript in the community. While most manuscript Siddurim in France and Germany were large, used by the Chazzan, this manuscript is small: 50 by 30 cm, indicating the person may have written it or commissioned it for personal use.


Expert of Hebrew manuscripts Professor Israel Moses Ta-Shma (1936–2004) argues that the copier of the manuscript was a non-Jew. This view is based on the fact that many letters in the manuscript are attached incorrectly, indicting that he was not familiar with the prayers and didn’t understand the meaning of the words he was copying. Simcha Emanuel and Tsur Shafir[7] dispute this view and argue that he was indeed a Jew. This can be determined from the fact that in one place he writes in Hebrew: ‘I forgot earlier and included it here’. This indicates that the copier was someone who knew and was familiar with what he was writing. Incidentally the same argument is mentioned regarding other Hebrew manuscripts by Malachi Bet-Arie but is subsequently refuted, due to the fact that some Hebrew manuscripts were definitely commissioned to a non-Jew and one can find similar informal notes, suggesting that this may not be a determining factor about the Jewish identity of the copier; he could have been a Jewish convert to Christianity, for example.[8]


Date of manuscript


There is no record in the manuscript of the date of its acquisition.[9] On the last page of the manuscript however there is a list of debts of English bishops and other personalities inscribed by a Spanish Jew in Judeo-Arabic Sephardic script during the 12th century.[10] It is likely that the prayer book was passed into the hands of a Spanish Jewish traveller who settled in England in the 12th century, permitting, through record of his debts, to give a precise end date for the manuscript. A number of the debtors are known to have lived in England during the reign of Richard I and John (1189-1216), giving us a date for this document around this time. As one of the debtors mentioned is William de Chemille, who is known to have died in 1202, the terminal date for the manuscript must be not later than this date.[11]


The earliest date for the manuscript may be determined by a number of factors: 


a. The mention of a commentary by Rabbi Kalonymus.

b. The mention of Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, known as Rashi.

c. Piyutim (liturgical poems) mentioned in the liturgy.


a. The first indication is a mention of the name of a commentary in the laws of Lulav, concluding that this teaching is ‘from the mouth of Rabbi Kalonymus, his soul is in Eden’. Rabbi Kalonymus belonged to a large family that originated in Rome, moved to Germany in the 9th or 10th century and lasted around five hundred years producing some of the greatest rabbis and liturgists in Germany and Northern France. The name Kalonymus as the teacher of the author of the Ashkenazi Siddur may refer to one of the five rabbis of the family who were known to have been called by that name: 1. Kalonymus II ben Moses who flourished in Italy about 950. 2. Kalonymus III ben Meshullam, who flourished in Mainz about 1,000. 3. Kalonymus ben Isaac the Elder (d. 1127), who was the father of Shmuel haChasid and grandfather of Judah haChasid.[12] 4. Kalonymus ben Judah the Elder, who lived in Mainz in the beginning of the 12th century. 5. Kalonymus ben Judah the Younger, who was a liturgical poet and flourished about 1160 in Speyer. Many of his poems have been incorporated in the Machzor liturgy.


b. A second indication is the mention of Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, known as Rashi (1040-1105), without the epithet ‘his soul is in Eden’ after his name. As Rashi passed away in 1105, one may infer from this that the author lived during Rashi’s lifetime. This Kalonymus may have lived earlier – in the 11th century.[13] If we don’t consider the epithet of significance, then it is possible that the Kalonymus referred to is Kalonymus ben Isaac the Elder (d. 1127), mentioned in other rabbinical writings of the time.[14]


c. A third indication is, as will be discussed further in greater detail, there are no mention of any poems at the end of the Haggadah other than the poem attributed to Rabbi Meir Shliach Hatzibur, who was the leader of the prayers in Worms and regarded as a contemporary of Rashi in the 11th century. His poem may be found in the manuscript at the end of the Passover Seder to be recited as part of the evening prayers on the first night of Passover. There are no other poems found at the end of the Haggadah, though they may be found in other later medieval Haggadah texts of the 13th and 14th century.[15] This would imply a start date for the manuscript as being the first half of the 12th century, and would give the following history to the prayer book. The author likely studied under the tutelage of a Rabbi Kalonymus ben Isaac the Elder (d. 1127), copied the manuscript while in Mainz or Worms and then came to England with the manuscript. He would have likely lived in England, possibly Oxford, sometime during the 12th century, when he passed away, after which his family sold the manuscript to a person visiting England from Spain, and it subsequently found its way to Corpus Christi College.




The dating of the prayer book in the early 12th century allows us to locate the prayer book in the following chronology of the development of the Siddur. The first to compose a text to be used as a liturgical prayer book was Rabbi Amram Gaon. This was at the request of someone from Spain called Yitzchak who asked Rabbi Amram Gaon to compose a prayer book with all the blessings describing how one should pray in the order of the whole year.[16]Rabbi Amram Gaon responded that he would send him the prayers according to his tradition. He proceeded to write down all the prayers, including the daily blessings, the Shabbat and the holiday prayers, together with a running commentary of laws and customs. This prayer book, called Seder Rav Amram, was completed in 846 CE[17] and includes a Haggadah. We don’t have the original copy of this manuscript, though a 15th century copy believed to be Rabbi Amram Gaon’s prayer book[18] is at the Bodleian Library[19] completed at Rhodes[20] on 12 January, 1426 (24 Tevet 5186).[21] While some question its authenticity, arguing that it incorporates also views of the prayer book in the 15th century, the great Biblical and Talmudic commentators, including Rashi and the Tosafists, however, quote Seder Rav Amram, suggesting there was an earlier reliable copy.[22]


Around seventy years after Rabbi Amram’s prayer book, Rabbi Sa’adia Gaon (882-942) also issued a prayer book with a Haggadah, called Seder Rav Amram Gaon. The Bodleian Library has a near complete manuscript copy, though the beginning, middle and end sections are missing.[23] The text includes five sections: prayers by individuals, prayers said by a community, supplications, blessings, and special days, including Shabbat and holidays. In the holiday section, there is a complete version of the Haggadah text.[24] These prayer books are however more like a catalogue of the prayers than the organized prayer book that we are accustomed to today with the prayers in order of the day from rising in the morning to retiring in the evening, including alternative prayers for the different times of the year. 


In Europe, the first extant prayer book, following those of Rabbi Amram and Sa’adia Gaon, is Siddur Rashi, which is primarily a book of laws, divided into 632 chapters, including laws about the prayers. This is followed by a similar work by the disciple of Rashi, Rabbi Simcha ben Shmuel of Vitry (d. 1105), who adopted much of the liturgy, laws and customs of his teacher.[25] The Machzor Vitry is also mainly a compilation of laws and discussions, consisting of 630 chapters, pertaining to all areas of Jewish law, including the prayers with the Haggadah text.[26] Following the Machzor Vitry, in Spain, Maimonides (1135-1204) composed Seder Tefilos Kol Hashana (order of the prayers throughout the year) as part of his legal work Mishneh Torah. In this work, the liturgy of the Haggadah follows on from the laws of Pesach. According to this brief survey, the oldest extant complete prayer book with a Haggadah in the form of a Siddur Kol Hashana – organized prayer book for the whole year - is the 12th century Ashkenazi Siddur at Corpus Christi College. This complete prayer book became the standard edition, as can be seen in the 13th-14th century prayer book found in the British Library with a commentary by Rabbi Elazar ben Judah of Worms, known as the Rokeach (1176-1238), as well as many others of the 15th century and beyond, up until today. 


Early French and German Influences


I would like to propose that it is possible to identify not only the approximate date of the prayer book, as suggested above, but also particular influences that helped shape the liturgy and customs in the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133. I would like to argue that two of the principle sources of influence that may be detected in the prayer book stem from the early French rabbis: Rashi, and his disciple Rabbi Simcha of Vitry. There is also a consistency in following opinions articulated by German Tosafist Rabbi Eliezer ben Joel HaLevi of Bonn, known by his acronym Ra'aviah (1140 - c. 1225), author of Talmud commentary and legal work Sefer Avi HaEzri.[27] Ra’aviah was the grandson of the great German Talmudist Rabbi Eliezer ben Nathan, known as the Ra’avan, and a disciple of leader of Chassidei Ashkenaz, Rabbi Judah HeHasid (1170-1215), and Judah ben Kalonymus of Mainz (d. c. 1200).[28]


To identify an influence on the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133 we will present a comparative study of thirteen close readings of texts in the manuscript, culled from fifty-four folios, consisting of areas of dispute or variations found within the Passover Haggadah.[29] In five cases the manuscript appears to follow views presented by Rashi and Rabbi Simcha of Vitry and in seven cases it follows the view of the Ra’aviah. In one case the manuscript presents a variation in the liturgy that has no parallel, suggesting the possibility of a mistake or self censorship. These include, in order of the folios, the following subjects: 1. Blessing over the wine; 2. Blessing after the wine; 3. Reclining; 4. Dipping the vegetables; 5. Breaking the Matzah; 6. Commemorating the Temple; 7. Four questions; 8. It is this that has stood by our ancestors; 9. Praise; 10. Pour Your Wrath; 11. Blessing over the song (birchat hashir); 12. Piyutim; 13. The fifth cup.


Blessing over the wine 


A custom at the Passover Seder is to drink four cups of wine to commemorate the four expressions of redemption in the book of Exodus.[30] The Talmud stipulates that the four cups of wine are four individual commandments and should therefore be drunk separately and not combined together.[31] For this reason the cups of wine are separated during the Seder with the interposition of the Haggadah between the first and second cup, the meal between the second and third and the recitation of Hallel between third and fourth. Rabbi Natronai Ben Hilai Gaon, who served as head of the Sura Academy between 853 and 858, Rabbi Amram Gaon (810-875), Rabbi Sherira Gaon (906-1006) and his son Rabbi Hai Gaon (939-1038), both who served as head of the Talmudic Academy of Pumbedita, all maintain that a separate blessing should be recited over each cup of wine.[32] Rabbi Isaac Alfasi, known by his acronym the Rif (1013–1103), concur with this.[33] This is also the opinion of Maimonides (1135-1204).[34] This is further quoted in the name of the Gaonim by Rabbi Simcha of Vitry in the Machzor Vitry and by Rabbi Zedekiah ben Abraham Anav (1210 – c. 1280) in his extensive work on Jewish law Shebbole Haleket in the name of Rashi (1040-1105). German Tosafist Ra'aviah also concurs with this opinion.[35] The reason is twofold: a person’s attention being diverted after drinking each cup, [36] and, as mentioned, each cup is a separate commandment.[37]


The opinion of the above Gaonim is contradicted by Rabbi Kohen-Zedek, who served as Gaon (head) of Sura Academy from 838 to 848,[38] as well as Rabbi Asher ben Yechiel, known as the Rosh (Cologne 1250 - Toledo 1327) and Rabbi Joseph Karo (1488-1575), who maintain that despite each cup being a separate commandment, as per the Talmud, one’s attention is not sufficiently diverted between the cups to require a second blessing over the wine, except for the third cup, due to the interruption of the meal, followed by ‘Grace after Meals’. A blessing should therefore be recited only over the first and third cup of wine. This is indeed the Sephardic tradition. The Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133 follows however the opinion of the Machzor Vitry, the Ra'aviah and the majority of the Gaonim that one should recite a separate blessing over each cup of wine.


Blessing after the wine 


Blessing.jpgJust as there is a dispute pertaining to reciting a blessing before the wine, there are five opinions in the medieval period regarding reciting a blessing after the cups of wine. Rabbi Sherira Gaon, his son Rabbi Hai Gaon, Rabbi Amram Gaon, as recorded in Seder Rav Amram,[39] as well as Rabbi Asher ben Yechiel, Rabbi Jonah of Gerondi (c.1200-1263), Rabbi Shlomo ben Aderet, known as the Rashba (1235-1310),[40] Rabbi Avraham ben David, known as the Ra’avad (1125-1198),[41] Rabeinu Tam, Rabbi Isaac ben Samuel the Elder (c. 1115 – c. 1184)[42] all maintain that one should recite a blessing only after the fourth cup. This is also the prevalent Ashkenazi custom today. Rabbi Isaac Alfasi says one should recite a blessing after the second and fourth.


German Tosafist Ra’aviah says one should recite a blessing after the first, third and fourth, as do the Machzor Vitry,[43] 13th century German Rabbi Meir of Rothenberg (c. 1215 - 1293), Rabbi Elijah of London, Rabbi Jacob ben Yehudah Chazan of London[44] and Rabbi Eleazar ben Judah (ben Kalonymus), known also after his work Rokeach (1176-1278).[45] 11th century Talmudist Kairouanan Rabbi Chananel ben Chushiel says one should recite a blessing after the third and fourth.[46] Rabbi Zedekiah ben Abraham Anav (Shibbole Ha-Leket) cites the opinion of Rashi that one should recite the blessing after each of the four cups of wine.[47] The Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133[48] in this case does not follow the Gaonim but rather the German Tosafist Ra’aviah. The Ra’aviah argues that although the non-food related interruptions between the first and second cup (reciting the Haggadah) and the third and fourth (Hallel) constitute a diversion, the meal between the second and third does not constitute an interruption.  This allows for the Grace after Meals to discharge one’s obligation to recite a blessing after the second cup of wine.[49


There is however an inconsistency in the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133. The text of the Haggadah records a blessing only after three of the cups of wine as per the view of the Ra’aviah and Machzor Vitry. At the end of the instructions to the Haggadah relating to the fourth cup of wine it however states: ‘and so should one do after each cup’, indicating the view of Rashi (as quoted by the Shibbole Ha-leket). It’s unclear whether this is a correction at the end of the text of the Haggadah due to an earlier omission and the author of the manuscript followed Rashi’s view or he merely refers to three of the cups and wanted to make this point at the fourth cup to indicate the negation of the view of the Gaonim who maintain that one only recites the blessing after the fourth cup of wine.




Another aspect of the drinking of the four cups of wine is the custom that one should drink the wine while reclining to the left, as an expression of freedom. There is a dispute in the Talmud[50] for which of the cups one should recline: one opinion is that one needs to recline only for the first two cups as the freedom begins while discussing the Exodus. The last two cups are ex post facto. Another opinion is one should recline only for the last two cups, as by this time there is freedom, while during the first two one is still saying ‘we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt’. The Talmud concludes that since both opinions were stated one should recline when drinking all four cups. Rashi in his laws of Pesach follows this opinion.[51] Maimonides and Rabbi Joseph Karo (1488-1575) write that if one eats Matzah or drinks the four cups of wine without reclining one has not fulfilled one’s obligation.[52] The Ra’aviah and fellow German Tosafist Rabbi Eliezer ben Nathan, known as the Ra’avan (1090-1170), has the opinion that nowadays one does not have to recline at all, as this is no longer the way one expresses freedom. This is quoted by 14th century German Rabbi Alexander Zuslin HaCohen who ruled that based on the Ra’aviah if one forgot to recline one has still fulfilled one’s obligation of the four cups of wine and the Matzah.[53] This is also the ruling of Rabbi Moses Isserles (1520-1572).[54] It is however perplexing that the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133 writes that one should recline while drinking the first two cups of wine but not the last two. This appears to follow neither the conclusion of the Talmud that one should recline for all four cups nor the Ra’aviah that it is unnecessary to recline at all. Rabbi Joel ben Samuel Sirkis (1561-1640), known by the name of his commentary Bayit Chadash, however, writes that if one chooses to follow the Ra’aviah, one is permitted to recline. This would explain the minimalist view as recorded in the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133. Alternatively, one may point out that in the Seder Haggadah of Rabbi Amram Gaon it states one should recline when drinking all four cups of wine but then omits specifying this for the fourth cup. This may be the case also with the last two cups in the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133 that this omission doesn’t necessarily indicate a dispute with the conclusion of the Talmud on the subject that one should recline for all the four cups.


Dipping vegetable in Charoset


The Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133 instructs to dip the vegetable at the beginning of the Seder in charoset - a mixture of chopped nuts, apples (some say pears) and wine that is eaten at the Seder meal on Passover, symbolizing the mortar used by Jewish slaves in Egypt. He calls the name of the vegetable צרפוויל))[55] which is most likely the same as chervil, related to parsley. Dipping the vegetable in charoset[56] is also the opinion of Rashi, Rabeinu Chananel and Maimonides, as well as Rabbi Zedekiah ben Abraham Anav (Shebbole Ha-leket). 


However, the French Tosafists, Rabbi Samuel ben Meir (c. 1085 – c. 1158), known by his acronym Rashbam, his brother Rabbi Jacob ben Meir, known as Rabeinu Tam (1100-1171), Rabbi Moses ben Jacob of Coucy, author of the Sefer Mitzvot Gedolot (S’mag), and English Rabbi Jacob ben Judah Hazzan of London in Etz Chaim,[57] as well as the opinion of the author of the 14th century German Siddur found in the British Library, all maintain that charoset should be reserved for the second dipping of the bitter herbs, which is a mitzvah (Biblical commandment), as opposed to the first dipping which is only a custom to engage the attention of the children. They are of the opinion that the vegetable should be dipped in either wine,[58] salt water[59] or vinegar.[60] This would indicate that the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133 that instructs to dip the vegetable at the beginning of the Seder in charoset follows the opinion of the 11th and early 12th century French rabbis, namely Rashi, as opposed to the slightly later French and English rabbis Samuel ben Meir, his brother Rabbi Jacob ben Meir and the opinions found in the English work on Jewish law Etz Chaim.


Breaking the Matzah


The Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133 instructs to break the middle Matzah on the Seder plate and place half in a cloth for the Afikoman (to be eaten after the meal) and the other half in between the two remaining pieces of matzahon the Seder plate. 13th century Rabbi Mordechai ben Hillel[61] and Rabbi Shlomo Luria, known as Maharshal (1510 - 1573), maintain that one should not break the middle matzah but rather the top matzah, so as not to pass over the top matzah. The Ra’aviah says that one should take the middle matzah, as the priority is the blessing over the matzah and one should not have to pass over the broken one when reciting the blessing over it.[62] The Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133 clearly follows the opinion of Ra’aviah.


Remove two dishes 


Two dishes.pngTwo of the items on the Seder plate are an egg and shank bone, usually a roasted chicken neck, called Zeroa. The Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133 says that before the beginning of the recitation of the Haggadah ‘one should remove the egg and shank bone from the Seder plate so that it does not appear that one is bringing a sacrifice outside Israel’. This is due to the fact that the two cooked foods are a remembrance, one of the Paschal lamb and the other of the Festival peace-offering, which was also eaten on Passover night.[63] The use of a shank bone and an egg is based on the various options given for the two remembrances in the Talmud: The Mishnah states:[64]They brought before him matzah and chazeret and charoset, and at least two cooked dishes in honor of the Festival. The Talmud[65] states that some sages used beets and rice (currently eaten only by Sephardim on Passover) some used fish and egg, while others used two types of meat.


The custom to remove the two dishes (meat and egg) from the Seder plate is mentioned in the laws of Pesach by Rabbi Elazar Rokeach. In the laws of Pesach by Rabbi Elijah of London, however, it says that one does not need to remove the dishes from the Seder plate as it doesn’t appear to be a sacrifice unless one takes the dishes and says explicitly ‘this is to commemorate the Pesach sacrifice’ as one does with the matzah and marror, but not by merely having it on the Seder plate.[66]


The removal of the two dishes appears to be perplexing. While there is the custom from the Talmud to remove the Seder plate before reciting the Four Questions (Mah Nishtana), to provoke the child to ask the Mah Nishtana‘Why is this night different?’, the reason for removing the two dishes from the Seder plate is not found in other Haggadah texts.[67] I would like to propose that, as in the laws of the four cups of wine mentioned above, this is based on the unique view of the Ra’aviah pertaining to the meaning of the text of the ‘Ha lachma anya’ (This is the poor man’s bread). In the passage of the ‘Ha lachma anya’ it says: 



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.


The inclusion of the text: ‘Whoever is needy, let him come and join in the observance of Passover’ after the destruction of the Temple is a matter of dispute. Italian Tosafists Rabbi Zedekiah ben Abraham Anav (Shebbole Ha-leket) and Rabbi Isaiah di Trani, known as the Rid (c. 1180 – c. 1250), argue that it should not be recited as it alludes to the Paschal offering that may not be offered after the destruction of the Temple. In the margin of the Machzor Vitry[68] it quotes Rabeinu Tam that it should not be recited. German Tosafists Ra’avan and Ra’aviah however say that it is customary to say it. Ra’avan says it refers to the Afikoman that has replaced the Paschal offering. The Ra’aviah says that it is customary to say it as it refers to the two cooked dishes that commemorate the two offerings of Passover. Following the teachings of the Ra’aviah it would explain the reason for the author of the Ashkenazi Siddur to write that one should remove the two cooked dishes from the Seder plate before reciting the ‘Ha lachma anya’.[69]


The four questions 


In the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133, the four questions follow the order found in the Babylonian Talmud,[70] the Machzor Vitry, as well as Etz Chaim


Why is this night different from all other nights? 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 are not required to dip even once. On this night, we dip twice? On all other nights, we eat either sitting upright or reclining. On this night, we all recline?


The Jerusalemite Talmud[71] however places the question about dipping first. This view is followed by Rabbi Amram Gaon, Rabbi Sa’adiah Gaon, Rabbi Isaac Alfasi, Rabbi Asher ben Yechiel, Maimonides, the Tur, Rabbi David Abudarham, Rabbi Don Isaac Abrabanel, Siddur of the Arizal up until the first printed Haggadah in Soncino 1485. A third opinion is found in the 14th century manuscript prayer book in the British Library[72] that places the question of the bitter herbs first.[73] In this case, the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133 does not follow the version found in Etz Chaim, written in England, nor the manuscript prayer book of the British Library, but rather the version of 11th century French Rabbi Simcha of Vitry.


The Wise Son


Wise son.pngThe Haggadah presents the Exodus story in the context of the four sons: the wise, the wicked, the simpleton and the one who does not know how to ask. The Haggadah text in the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC 135 presents the wise question as follows:[74] “If your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What are the testimonies, the statutes, and the ordinances, which the L-rd our G‑d has commanded us?’” This text of the Haggadah is based on the verse in Deuteronomy[75] with a variation: instead of stating, “the L-rd our G‑d has commanded you" as in Deuteronomy, the Haggadah text says, “the L-rd our G‑d has commanded us". The reason for this difference, is since the wicked son, who immediately follows the wise son, is criticised for asking: "What is this service to you?! He says `to you,' but not to him! By thus excluding himself from the community he has denied that which is fundamental.” To make a distinction between the wise son and the wicked son, the text was changed for the purpose of the Haggadah, using the term ‘us’ instead of the exclusive ‘you’.


This minor change from the Biblical text in the Haggadah is found in early texts, including the Jerusalemite Talmud[76] and the Midrash,[77] as well as the medieval 13th century manuscript Etz Chaim by Rabbi Jacob ben Judah Chazan of London. The 13th-14th century manuscript prayer book at the British Library with the commentary of Eleazar of Worms originally had the word ‘us’ but was corrected to ‘you’.[78] The word ‘us’ can be found also in the early printed editions of the Mishneh Torah by Maimonides: Rome (c. 1480), Constantinople (1509) and Venice (1550 and 1574-5) editions. The widespread standard edition of the Mishneh Torah (Warsaw - Vilna 1881), as all the contemporary Haggadah texts, both Ashkenazi and Sephardic, states, however, ‘you’, as the Biblical text. 


There are a number of explanations for using the word ‘you’, despite its similarity to the wicked son: 


a. Rabbi Simcha of Vitry explains that the wise son in Deuteronomy was not born at the time of the Exodus when the commandment to eat the Paschal offering was given.[79]

b. The word ‘you’ is used since the wise son is a minor and not included in the obligation of the Paschal offering.[80]

c. It is merely being respectful as a son to a father.[81]  

d. The word ‘you’ refers to post Sinai, whereas the wise son is perpetually pre-Sinai, reflecting the ideal of receiving the Torah anew.[82]


In the context of the word ‘you’, the question of the wise son is interpreted in the following ways:


a. Rabbi Kalonymus of Rome explains that the question is pertaining to a specific aspect of the law of the Paschal offering:[83] why is the meat of the festival offering (Chagigah) given precedence to the Paschal offering, despite the Paschal offering being the primary offering on Passover.[84]

b. A second angle to the wise son’s question is: why is the Paschal lamb eaten in groups with other families combined with only small amounts eaten (the size of an olive) by each person - an unusual way of eating compared to other festivals.[85]

c. A third insight into the question is from the perspective of a young child: why are nuts and other sweet foods given at the beginning of the Seder, and not at the end of the meal, when usually served.

d. The question according to Abrabanel is: why are there various categories of laws relating to the Paschal offering: commemorative (edut) laws like eating a lamb,[86] Matza and bitter herbs; super rational laws (chukim) for example to not break any bones of the lamb while eating the Paschal offering; and rational laws (mishpatim) pertaining to the Paschal offering, e.g. the law that restricts the Paschal offering only to Jews, as they were who left Egypt.[87]

e. The question according to Rabbi Joseph I. Schneersohn, known as the Rayatz (1880-1950), is: how can a physical Mitzvah commanded at Sinai (you), bring a person close to G‑d, as opposed to the more spiritual service of the patriarchs.[88]  


The above interpretations of the wise son’s question can be divided into three categories: a. Pertaining to a particular aspect of the Paschal offering, as proposed by Rabbi Kalonymus of Rome. b.  General laws of Passover, including the Matzah and bitter herbs, as proposed by Abrabanel. c. The categories of the Mitzvot in general, apart from the Passover and the Paschal offering, as proposed by Rabbi Joseph I. Schneersohn, amongst other commentaries. 


A reason for the use of the word ‘us’ in the early versions of the Haggadah, including the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC 135, is consistent with the interpretation of the question  of the wise son. If the question of the wise son is regarding the subject of the laws of Passover or the general Mitzvot, the term ‘you’ is more appropriate, as a minor is exempt from the Mitzvot, due to the lack of intellectual maturity.[89] If, however, the question of the wise son is focused on a specific detail in the laws of the Paschal offering, as proposed by Rabbi Kalonymus, the term ‘we’ may be justifiable, as a minor, according to some opinions in the view of Maimonides, has a part in the Paschal offering obligation. Maimonides writes[90]:


A convert who converts between the first Pesach and the second Pesach and similarly, a child who comes of age between these two holidays is obligated to offer the second Paschal sacrifice. If one slaughtered the first Pascal sacrifice for the sake of the minor, the minor is exempt from bringing the second sacrifice.


Rabbi Joseph Karo (1488-1575) in his commentary to the Mishneh Torah[91]Kesef Mishneh, poses a question on Maimonides: As the child was not of age during the first Pesach, why is the minor not obligated to bring the Pascal offering on the second Pesach? 16th century Rabbi Joseph Kurkus, known as Mahari Kurkus, in his commentary on Maimonides, explains that since the Torah allows a minor to be part of the Paschal offering together with the group, he receives a part of the obligation.[92] Thus, according to Maimonides, a minor has a part of the obligation of the Paschal offering. This would justify the use of the word ‘us’ in the wise son’s question, according to the Jerusalemite Talmud Midrash, early versions of Maimonides and the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC 135. This would also be consistent with the fact that the origin of the manuscript is from Mainz where the Klonymus family also settled. 


It is this that has stood by our ancestors 


Hi sheamda.pngAnother interesting variation in the Haggadah text in the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133 is the omission of a sentence in a unique section of the Haggadah about the survival of the Jewish people despite attempts at their destruction. The standard version contains four sentences: 


(1) It is this that has stood by our ancestors and us. (2) It is not only one that arose up against us to destroy us. (3) Rather, in every generation, they rise against us to destroy us. (4) And the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from their hand.


The Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133 omits the third sentence and writes the paragraph as follows:


It is this that has stood by our ancestors and us. It is not only one that rises up against us to destroy us. And the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from their hand.


In addition, the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS writes in the second paragraph ‘rises’ in the present tense, rather than the past tense ‘arose’. A brief survey of other Haggadah versions shows that it is difficult to find a source for the version of this paragraph in the Haggadah in the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133. Sa’adiah Gaon, in his Siddur, includes the third paragraph about rising to destroy us in each generation, omits the reference to destruction in the second paragraph and writes merely ‘rise against us’ but not ‘to destroy us’. He also writes ‘rising against us’ in paragraph two and three in the present tense. His version is as follows:


It is this that has stood by our ancestors and us. It is not only one that is rising up against us. Rather, in every generation, they rise up against us to annihilate us. And the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from their hand.


Maimonides and Rabbi Zedekiah ben Abraham Anav in his work Shebbole Ha-leket also include the third sentence about ‘rising to destroy us in each generation’, and like Sa’adiah, omit the first reference to destruction in the second sentence. Unlike Sa’adiah, however, they write ‘arose against us’ in the second sentence in the past tense, referring to the Egyptians. The version is as follows: 


It is this that has stood by our ancestors and us. It is not only one that arose against us. Rather, in every generation, they rise against us to annihilate us. And the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from their hand.


A reason for the omission of the word ‘destruction’ in the second sentence by Maimonides and Rabbi Zedekiah ben Abraham Anav is that Pharaoh didn’t desire to destroy the Jewish people but rather to enslave them.[93] Others[94] who include the word ‘destruction’ in the second sentence interpret the verse in the Song at the Sea:[95] ‘I will draw my sword, my hand will impoverish them’, to imply that Pharaoh ultimately also wanted their destruction.


Spanish Rabbi David Abudarham (flourished 1340) writes that the Siddur of Rabbi Amram Gaon and Sa’adia Gaon writes in the fourth sentence: ‘And the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from their hand’, instead of: ‘Rather, the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from their hand’. 


There is consistency between the version of the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133 with the above versions regarding the particular wording in three of the sentences. It follows Sa’adiah Gaon in reference to the second sentence where is writes ‘rise up against us’ in the present tense. It includes the word ‘destruction’ in the second sentence, unlike Maimonides and Rabbi Zedekiah ben Abraham Anav in his work Shebbole Ha-leket, and follows Rabbi Amram and Sa’adia Gaon in the phrase ‘And the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from their hand’. The omission of the third sentence is however inconsistent with all the above versions, indicating an unidentified source of this Haggadah text, a possible censorship that for some reason removed this sentence, or merely a mistake in the copying of the manuscript. 


The Plagues


Plagues.pngThe Haggadah lists the Ten Plagues in two contexts: a list of the Ten Plagues and a dispute between three sages about the breakdown of the number of plagues at the Exodus and the crossing at the sea. Rabbi Jose the Galilean says that at the Exodus there were ten plagues and the sea fifty. Rabbi Eliezer counts forty at the Exodus and two hundred at the sea. Rabbi Akiva counts fifty at the Exodus and two hundred and fifty at the sea. The views expound on the fact that at the Exodus is refers to the ‘finger of G‑d’ and at the sea ‘the hand of G‑d’. The hand with five fingers is a metaphor to exegetically indicate the multiplication of five times the amount of plagues that took place at the Exodus that only refers to a single finger. Thus, Rabbi Jose the Galilean counts ten plagues at the Exodus, this would make fifty at the sea. Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Akiva, four or five at the Exodus, makes two hundred or two hundred and fifty at the Sea. 


This text is taken from the Midrash Mechilta[96] and may be found in the Haggadah text of Rabbi Amram Gaon, Rabbi Sa’adiah Gaon, Machzor Vitry and continues to be found in all texts of the Haggadah through the 16thcentury including by Abrabanel Zevach Pesach) and Rabbi Isaac Luria. Maimonides however does not mention this text. His son, Rabbi Abraham, cites a reason due to it not being found in all countries and not critical to the Haggadah text, though he concedes that his father would say it, as it has very early antecedents among the sages of the west.[97] Medieval Haggadah texts that have it include the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133, 13th century Etz Chaim by Rabbi Jacob ben Judah Chazan of London and the 13-14th century Haggadah text in the manuscript prayer book at the British Library with the commentary of Eleazar of Worms.


There is however a glaring error in the version of the opinions of Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Akiva in the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133. The text merges the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer with Rabbi Akiva. It starts off with the premise of Rabbi Eliezer that each plague consisted of four plagues but then when calculating the plagues at the sea, multiplied by five, it concludes with the number two hundred and fifty, instead of two hundred. This is obviously a mistake in the manuscript, which would have occurred when it was being copied from the original.




L'fichach.pngThe Haggadah text of the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133 has places where there appears to be an omission and the word is subsequently added by a later hand. One such place is the word (לפניו) ‘before Him’ at the end of the following paragraph recited before the drinking of the second cup of wine:


Thus it is our duty to thank, to laud, to praise, to glorify, to exalt, to adore, to bless, to elevate and to honor the One who did all these miracles for our fathers and for us. He took us from slavery to freedom, from sorrow to joy, and from mourning to festivity, and from deep darkness to great light and from bondage to redemption. Let us therefore recite before Him a new song, Praise G‑d!


In addition to the word ‘before him’, which was added later in a different hand,[98] the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133 adds also the words ‘new song’ (ונאמר לפניו שיר חדש הללויה) in this paragraph. 


In the work of the Mishnah,[99] the Siddur of Rabbi Amram Gaon, Rabbi Sa’adiah Gaon, Haggadah of Maimonides,[100] Rabbi Zedekiah ben Abraham Anav in his work Shebbole Ha-leket and Rabbi Dovid Abudarham commentary, the word for ‘before Him’ is found, as in the standard version of the Haggadah today, thus justifying the addition in the margin by a later hand, indicating it was indeed omitted by mistake. However, in the above versions it does not include the words ‘new song’ in this paragraph. Rabbi Judah ben Bezalel Loew, known as the Maharal of Prague (1525-1609), writes that he found in Ashkenazi prayer books the version with ten phrases of praise and the ending ‘Let us say before Him, Praise G‑d’, as in the CCC MS 133 Ashkenazi Siddur, but without the words ‘new song’. The Machzor Vitry has the words ‘before him’ and also ‘new song’ but in the feminine ‘Shirah Chadasha’. In the margin of the Machzor Vitry manuscript a comment states that it should in fact be in the feminine, not the masculine. Rabbi Asher ben Yechiel also adds the words ‘new song’ in the feminine.[101]


The words ‘new song’ are also found in the following paragraph before the drinking of the second cup of wine:


So too, G‑d, 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 be sprinkled on 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, G‑d, who redeemed Israel.


In between these two paragraphs is the recitation of a part (two chapters) of the Hallel (verses of praise from Psalms 114-118). The remaining part of the Hallel is recited after the meal, between the third and fourth cup of wine, as per the teaching in the Mishnah.[102] The overall recitation of the Hallel was recited in the Temple period while eating the Passover offering.[103] After the destruction of the Temple, the Hallel is still recited at the Seder night but is not obligatory, unlike during the daytime on the festivals. On the Seder night, post Temple, it is recited to offer praise to G‑d in the context of the Haggadah liturgy about the Exodus. It is also related to the dictum of the Talmud that ‘song’ (praise of G‑d) must be said over wine.[104] Furthermore, it is utilized as a way to separate the fourth cup of wine from the third, as the second half of the liturgy of the Hallel is recited between the third and fourth cups. To negate the idea that the Hallel is obligatory it seems to add the words ‘new song’, indicating that it is a song in the context of the cup of wine or related to the Haggadah but not an obligation. 


In most versions however it is added only in the second paragraph but not in the first.[105] A reason why the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133 adds the words ‘new song’ also in the first paragraph may be to support the view of the Gaonim and the Ra’aviah that a blessing should not be recited over the Hallel on the Seder night. This is the opinion of the Gaonim, including Rabbi Yehosef, Rabbi Amram, Rabbi Tzemach and Rabbi Hai Gaon.[106] The Ra’aviah explains the reason is because Hallel is broken up into two parts, between the second and third cup and third and fourth cup. Rabbi Hai Gaon explains the reason is because it is not recited as Hallel, but rather as a ‘song’ of praise in the context of the story of the Exodus. French Tosafist Rabbi Moses ben Jacob of Coucy, Rabbi Jacob ben Asher and Rabbi Asher ben Yechiel write however that a blessing should be recited over the Hallel. German Tosafist Rabbi Isaac ben Asher ha-Levi of Speyer, known as the Riva (d. 1133), also maintains that a blessing should be recited over the Hallel at the Seder.[107] In similar vein, 13th century French Rabbi Aaron ben Jacob ha-Kohen of Lunel in his work Orchot Chaim argues that the paragraph prior to the Hallel serves in place of the blessing over the Hallel.[108] The opinion of Rabbi Moses of London is however that a blessing should not be recited,[109] as is the opinion of his son Rabbi Elijah of London,[110] though later on after the meal, Judah ben Jacob Chazzan writes that a blessing is said over the Hallel.[111]  It is plausible that the additional words ‘new song’ in the first paragraph, prior to the Hallel, emphasise the view of the Gaonim and the Ra’aviah that a blessing over the Hallel is not necessary.


Pour Your Wrath 


Shfoch.pngAccording to Maimonides,[112] the standard version of the Haggadah liturgy today was mainly composed after the destruction of the Temple. Some sections are found in the Mishnah and Talmud and some appear for the first time in the Haggadah texts of the Gaonim. One such text is ‘Pour out Your wrath’ that appears in all the texts of the Haggadah after the meal and before the second part of the Hallel prayer, with which the Seder night concludes. This text however is found in a number of different forms. The standard version is a combination of four verses from Psalms and Lamentations that state as follows:


(1) Pour out Your wrath upon the nations that do not acknowledge You, and upon the kingdoms that do not call upon Your Name.[113] (2) For they have devoured Jacob and laid waste his habitation.[114] (3) Pour out Your indignation upon them, and let the wrath of Your anger overtake them.[115] (4) Pursue them with anger, and destroy them from beneath the heavens of the L-rd.[116]


In the Siddur of Rabbi Sa’adiah Gaon this liturgy does not appear at all. The Haggadah of Rabbi Amram Gaon only includes the first section of two verses: 


Pour out Your wrath upon the nations that do not acknowledge You, and upon the kingdoms that do not call upon Your Name.[117] For they have devoured Jacob and laid waste his habitation.[118]


This version with only the two verses is also the liturgy mentioned by Don Isaac Abrabanel in his commentary on the Haggadah, Zevach Pesach. There is also a version with just a single verse. This can be found in the manuscript prayer book at the British Library with the commentary of Elazar of Worms.[119]


In the Machzor Vitry, however, there are nine verses:[120]


(1) Pour out Your wrath upon the nations that do not acknowledge You, and upon the kingdoms that do not call upon Your Name.[121] (2) For they have devoured Jacob and laid waste his habitation.[122] (3) Pour out Your indignation upon them, and let the wrath of Your anger overtake them.[123] (4) May their palace be desolate; in their tents let there be no dweller.[124] (5) Let them be as chaff before the wind, with an angel of the Lord thrusting them.[125] (6) May their way be dark and slippery, with an angel of the L-rd pursuing them.[126] (7) Condemn them, O G‑d; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them down in the multitude of their transgressions for they have rebelled against You.[127] (8) Give them, O L-rd, what you will give; give them a bereaving womb and dry breasts.[128] (9) Pursue them with anger, and destroy them from beneath the heavens of the L-rd.[129]


In the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133 there are eleven verses:[130]


(1) Pour out Your wrath upon the nations that do not acknowledge You, and upon the kingdoms that do not call upon Your Name.[131] (2) Pour out Your indignation upon them, and let the wrath of Your anger overtake them.[132] (3) You shall break them with an iron rod; like a potter's vessel you shall shatter them.[133] (4) Give them, O Lord, what you will give; give them a bereaving womb and dry breasts.[134] (5) Give them according to their deeds and according to the evil of their endeavors; according to the work of their hands give to them; return their recompense to them.[135] (6) Give them a weakness of heart; may Your curse be upon them.[136] (7) Pursue them with anger, and destroy them from beneath the heavens of the L-rd.[137] (8) May they be erased from of the book of life and not be inscribed with the righteous.[138] (9) May their palace be desolate; in their tents let there be no dweller.[139] (10) May their table before them become a trap, and [their hope] for peace become a snare.[140] (11) For they have devoured Jacob and laid waste his habitation.[141]


In addition to there being two more verses in the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133 than the Machzor Vitry, there are four verses in Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133 which are not in the Machzor Vitry version, while there are three verses in the Machzor Vitry that are not in the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133. An additional difference is the variety of the texts. The Machzor Vitry limits the verses to the book of Psalms and Lamentations, whereas the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133 includes a verse from Hosea. 


There is also a difference in the order of the verses. In the Machzor Vitry the verse ‘For they have devoured Jacob and laid waste his habitation’, follows the opening verse ‘Pour out Your wrath upon the nations that do not acknowledge You, and upon the kingdoms that do not call upon Your Name’. Both these verses are consecutive verses in Psalms (79:6 & 79:7). The subject of the first verse is the recompense whereas the second is the cause for the recompense: the destruction of the Temple. The juxtaposition of the two verses is also in the liturgy of Rabbi Amram Gaon. The Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133 however separates the two verses and puts the second verse – the cause – at the end of the section. 


There are two reasons for the insertion of this passage in the Haggadah: Don Isaac Abrabanel puts it in the context of the following verse from the Hallel liturgy of the Haggadah: Not for us, O Lord, not for us, but for Your name give honour, for Your kindness and for Your truthfulness.[142] This should then be read as to say that although the Jewish people are not worthy of G‑d showing them His kindness by destroying their enemies, it should be done for the name of G‑d. This would concur with the version of Rabbi Amram Gaon, the Machzor Vitry and Don Isaac Abrabanel. According to the version of the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133 that concludes the section with ‘For they have devoured Jacob and laid waste his habitation’, the continuation of the two passages are not easily understood. It would seem that in the view of the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133 it is a stand-alone section of the Haggadah. This is indicated also by the fact that it doesn’t consist only of two verses from Psalms, as per the comment of Don Isaac Abrabanel, to give an introduction to the following passage ‘Not for us’. Consisting of eleven verses, this section implies that it’s not merely a brief opening to give a suitable context for the following passages of the Hallel but has its own purpose in the order of the Seder. 


14th century Tosafist Rabbi Aaron ben Jacob ha-Kohen of Lunel writes[143] that ‘Pour Your wrath’ should be seen in the context of the pouring of the fourth cup of wine that precedes it. The paragraph ‘Pour Your wrath’ is in fact recited immediately after the pouring of the fourth cup of wine, as Rabbi Amram Gaon writes: Pour the forth cup of wine and recite[144] ‘Pour Your wrath’. This would point to the comment in the Jerusalemite Talmud:[145] Rabbi Levi said that the four cups of wine correspond to the four kingdoms [that subjugated Israel]. As the fourth cup would correspond to the fourth and final kingdom to subjugate Israel, referring to the current exile, the passage ‘Pour Your wrath’ is asking G‑d to pour His wrath on the nations who harass Israel and redeem Israel from the exile with the ultimate redemption.[146]


A further underlying reason for the difference in length of the section “Pour Your wrath” may have to do with the date of the particular manuscript. The pre-Crusade 10th century version of Amram Gaon and post-Crusade 14thcentury versions, as found in the British Library, are short, whereas the versions found in the 12th century German Corpus manuscript, and 13th century English Etz Chaim, both written in times of great distress due to the impact of the Crusades on Jewish life, are lengthier.[147] In conclusion, one may argue, the reasoning behind the lengthening of the passage “Pour Your wrath” as opposed to keeping it short is consistent with the version of the Rabbi Simcha of Vitry, even while the particulars of the actual verses differ slightly.


Blessing of the Song 


The closing of the liturgy of the Haggadah is a subject of dispute between many medieval liturgists though summarized today mostly by the two principal liturgical traditions of the Sephardim and Ashkenazim. The subject is based on a teaching in the Mishnah:[148]


Next, they pour him the fourth cup. He completes Hallel (praise) over it, as he already recited the first part of Hallel before the meal. And he also recites the ‘blessing of the song’ at the end of Hallel over the fourth cup.


The Talmud proceeds to present two opinions as to what the ‘Blessing of the song’ should be:[149] The first opinion is that of Rabbi Yehuda who said the “Blessing of the song” is the blessing that begins with: They shall praise You, L-rd, our G‑d. 


The full text of this blessing is:


L-rd, our G‑d, all Your works shall praise You; Your pious ones, the righteous who do Your will, and all Your people, the House of Israel, with joyous song will thank and bless, laud and glorify, exalt and adore, sanctify and proclaim the sovereignty of Your Name, our King. For it is good to thank You, and befitting to sing to Your Name, for from the beginning to the end of the world You are Almighty G‑d. 


The closing of this blessing is:[150] “Blessed are You L-rd, King who is extolled with praises.”


The second opinion is that of Rabbi Yohanan who said the ‘Blessing of the song’ is the liturgical blessing that begins with: The breath of all living [151] shall bless Your name (Nishmat kol chai).


The text of the ending of this blessing is:


May your Name be praised forever our King, G‑d, the great and holy King in heaven and on earth. Because for You is fitting O L-rd, our G‑d, and the G‑d of our forefathers song and praise, lauding and hymns, power and dominion, triumph, greatness and strength, praise and splendor, holiness and sovereignty, blessings and thanksgivings from this time and forever. Blessed are You, O L-rd, G‑d, King exalted through praises, G‑d of thanksgivings, Master of wonders, Who chooses musical songs of praise King, G‑d, Life-giver of the world.


In practice there are three opinions how the ‘Blessing of the song’ should be said:[152] 1. Rabbi Amram Gaon, Maimonides and Rabbi Isaac Alfasi say that only the first blessing should be said, following the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda. 2. Rabbi Asher ben Yechiel, Rabbi Jacob ben Asher, Tosafist Rabbi Chaim Kohen and 13th century German Rabbi Meir ben Yekutiel HaKohen, author of Hagahot Maimoniyot, and Jacob ben Judah Hazzan of London say that both prayers are said but one should omit the first ending “Blessed are You L-rd, King who is extolled with praises”. 3. Rashi, Rabbi Shmuel ben Meir, and the Ra’aviah say that both blessings should be said in their entirety.


Codifier of Jewish law and legalists Rabbi Yaakov ben Moshe Levi Moelin, known as the Maharil (c. 1365- 1427), Rabbi Abraham Abele Gombiner (c. 1635 - 1682), known after his work as Magen Avraham, and Rabbi Jacob ben Joseph Reischer (Bechofen) (1661-1733), all follow the opinion that both prayers are said but one should omit the first ending “Blessed are You Lord, King who is extolled with praises”. This is the standard Ashkenazi version of the Haggadah today. The Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133 however follows the view of Rashi, Rabbi Shmuel ben Meir, and the Ra’aviah who say that both blessings should be said in their entirety.[153]








Leyl Shimurim.pngAfter the Haggadah liturgy none of the traditional Piyutim that are accustomed to be sung today appear.[154] This follows the liturgy of an earlier date before the various Piyutim were composed. Rabbi Amram Gaon did not include any Piyutim at the end of the Haggadah. A likely reason is due to a teaching in the Tosefta: one is obligated to occupy oneself in the laws of Pesach and the Exodus the whole night. This is similar to the Mishnaic sages who related the story of the Exodus the whole night until dawn. Rabbi Yonah of Gerondi (1200-1263) writes:[155] “One is obligated to occupy oneself in the laws of Pesach, the Exodus and to relate the miracles and wonders that G‑d performed for us until one falls asleep.” Maimonides’ ruling and the subsequent custom of the Sephardim is indeed not to recite Piyutim following the conclusion of the Haggadah.


The first Haggadah to include a Piyut after the Haggadah is the Machzor Vitry that includes the Piyut: ‘YeTZaltzlu CHovevim Kol Simcha V’gilim’. From the acrostic letters in the opening of the Piyut, it was composed by a liturgist called Yitzchak. According to Leopold Zunz this was Rabbi Isaac ben Samuel, also known as the Ri ha-Zaken, the grandson of Rabbi Simcha of Vitry and relative of Rashi. The Piyut is based on an order of letters discussed in the Talmud[156] that indicate the virtues of Israel after they rejected idolatry.[157] Rashi writes:[158] “If one wants to increase in praise of the Creator or the Exodus the whole night one may.” The same is quoted in the Machzor Vitry.[159] Rabbi Zedekiah ben Abraham Anav in his work Shebbole Ha-leket writes:[160] “It is customary to say Piyutim with words of praise and thanksgiving. And so it is fitting to increase in praise “to Him Who performs great wonders alone, for His kindness is eternal upon Israel.” They don’t however indicate which Piyutim should be said. The first to mention a traditional Piyut that is said today is Rabbi Eleazar ben Judah ben Kalonymus, also known as Eleazar of Worms or Elazar Rokeach, from the title of his work Sefer haRokeach (1160-1238), who writes that after the fourth cup of wine, one pours a fifth cup and recites the Great Hallel (Psalm 136) and Piyutim: ‘Az rov nissim’, composed by Yannai of the 7th century, and ‘Ometz gevuratecha’,[161] composed by Eliezer Hakalir of the 9th century. 13th century Rabbi Jacob ben Judah Chazzan of London, in his work on Jewish law 'Etz Chaim', written in 1287, includes at the end of his Haggadah text the Piyut: 'Ki Lo Naeh, Ki Lo Yaeh, Adir B'Melucha' but no other Piyutim are included. 


In Ashkenazi Haggadot there are seven Piyutim that are recited at the end of the Haggadah. This includes: 1. ‘Chasal Siddur Pesach K'Hilchaso' by Rabbi Yosef Tur-Elam I (died 1040 CE); 2. ‘Az Rov Nissim' by Yannai, 9th century teacher of Eliezer Hakalir. Rabbi Yaakov ben Moshe Levi Moelin (c. 1365 - 1427), known as Maharil, adds the words: 'Vayehi B'Chatzi Halayla' before the words 'Az Rov Nissim’; 3. 'Ometz Gevurasecha' by Eliezer Hakalir, 7th century. Maharil cites the custom to begin with the words: 'U'vechein V'Amartem Zevach Pesach'; 4. 'Ki Lo Naeh, Ki Lo Yaeh, Adir B'Melucha', author unknown but cited by 13th century Rabbi Jacob ben Judah Chazzan of London, in his work on Jewish law 'Etz Chaim',[162] 5. 'Adir Hu Yivneh Beiso B'Karov', author unknown; 6. 'Echad Mi Yodeiya?', author unknown; 7. 'Chad Gadya', author unknown.


In the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133 there are no Piyutim at all after the conclusion of the Haggadah, similar to the Siddur of Rabbi Amram Gaon. There are however two Piyutim mentioned after the text of the Haggadah to be included in the evening ‘Ma’ariv’ prayer for the evening of Pesach. This includes: ‘Leyl Shimurim’[163] and ‘Pesach ochlu, b’leilei chag Pesach’. The author of these Piyutim is Rabbi Meir Shliach Tzibur, [164] who was the shliach tzibur (chazzan) - “prayer leader” in Worms, Germany, where Rashi resided and, according to tradition, was a student of his. Rabbi Meir’s son was killed in the crusade of 1196 and Rabbi Meir himself died soon after a debate that he was forced to have with Christians.[165] He left behind, however, a number of Piyutim including the ‘Akdamot’ Piyut for the holiday of Shavuot and the two Piyutim that are recited by Ashkenazi communities in the evening prayers on the first night of Pesach, as brought in the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133. The omission of Piyutim in the Haggadah text in the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133 implies that it predates Rabbi Eleazar ben Judah ben Kalonymus (1160-1238). The inclusion of the Piyutim by Rabbi Meir Shliach Tzibur of Worms in the evening service on the first night of Pesach indicates, once again, the connection of the Siddur to the city of Worms as an influence and, in particular, gives us an additional method to possibly date this manuscript as early 12th century.


The Fifth cup




A further omission in the Haggadah in the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133 is the option of drinking a fifth cup of wine at the end of the Seder. While today it is not customary to have a fifth cup of wine as part of the Seder, in many of the medieval Haggadot there is a mention of such an option. The idea of a fifth cup originates in a reading of the Talmud:[166]


The Sages taught: With regard to the fourth cup, one completes the ‘great Hallel’;[167] this is the statement of Rabbi Tarfon. And some say that one recites: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”.[168]


Many of the Gaonim of the 9th century had a version of the Talmud that stated “fifth cup” instead of “fourth cup,” implying that the ‘great Hallel’ is said over a fifth cup. This is the version of the following Gaonim: Rabbi Sa’adiah Gaon (882 - 942), Rabbi Sar Shalom Gaon (d. c. 859), Rabbi Kohen Tzedek Gaon, Rabbi Moses Gaon and Rabbi Amram Gaon, as well as 11th century French Rabbi Joseph Tov Elem, Rabbi Isaac Alfasi,[169] Rabbi Zerachiah ben Isaac ha-Levi Gerondi, also known by his acronym Rezah or Baal Ha-Maor after his work (1125-1186), Rabbi Abraham ben David (c. 1125 - 1198), known as the Ra’avad, Maimonides[170] (1135-1204), French Tosafist Rabbi Moses ben Jacob of Coucy (1200-1260) and Rabbi Asher ben Yechiel known as the Rosh (1250-1327). The only ambiguity in the above opinions is its place in the context of the obligation of the four cups. There are no less that seven opinions how to determine the role of the fifth cup, based on the reading of the Talmud, including the view that agrees with the version but rejects the view that a fifth cup should be included in the Seder in practice. One can summarise the various views as follows: 


a. the view of Rabbi Asher ben Yechiel that the fifth cup is obligatory[171] as part of the same obligation of the four cups;[172]

b. the view of Maimonides in his legal work that the fifth cup is obligatory but not as part of the four cups;[173]

c. the view as presented by Rabbi Nissim of Gerondi that a fifth cup is preferable (mitzvah min hamuvchar) but not obligatory;[174]

d. the view of the majority of the Gaonim that it is merely optional;[175]

e. the view of Maimonides according to the understanding of Rabbi Elazar of Worms that it is permitted but in fact preferable not to include it;[176]

f. the view of Rabbi Joseph Elem that it is optional only in case of great thirst, sensitivity (איסטניס) or illness;[177]

g. the view of the Rezah that the view is rejected in practice altogether.[178]


All the above views concur however with the version of the Talmud that reads ‘fifth cup’ in the view of Rabbi Tarfon pertaining to the reciting the great Hallel over a cup of wine. They argue only regarding the extent or acceptability of the opinion. Only two views appear not to have consented to this reading of the Talmud. Rashi[179] and Rashbam[180] have the view that the correct version of the Talmud is ‘fourth’ and not ‘fifth’ cup. They maintain therefore that the Talmud does not sanction at all the drinking of a fifth cup of wine on the Seder night. 


Interestingly, in many of the medieval Haggadah texts there is the option for the drinking of a fifth cup of wine. In Etz Chaim Rabbi Jacob ben Judah Chazan of London writes: “If one is sick or sensitive one may pour a fifth cup of wine and recite the ‘great Hallel’ over it and drink it.” Similarly, in the commentary on the Haggadah by Rabbi Elazar of Worms in the British Library he writes: “If one wants to make a fifth cup one should complete the blessing over the Hallel on the fourth cup and the ‘Blessing of the song’ over the fifth cup of wine.” In the Haggadah text in the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133, however, there is no mention at all of a fifth cup of wine; it simply instructs one to complete the ‘great Hallel’ and the ‘Blessing of the song’ over the fourth cup. This would suggest the author of the prayer book, despite the majority of the views on this subject, chose the reading of the Talmud following the distinct view of Rashi and his grandson Rashbam.[181]




In this essay we presented an overview of the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133, the approximate date of its production, and the particular influences that helped shape its version of liturgy. I argued through a detailed series of studies of the liturgy focused on the Passover Haggadah text that two of the principle sources of influence of the Siddur are the early French rabbis Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, known as Rashi, and his disciple Rabbi Simcha of Vitry, consistent with the early date of the manuscript, as well as a documentation of distinct parts of the liturgy that appears to be consistent in following the opinions articulated by German Tosafist Rabbi Eliezer ben Joel HaLevi of Bonn, known by his acronym Ra'aviah (1140-1225). As a disciple of the leader of Chassidei Ashkenaz (German pietists), Rabbi Judah HaHasid, and Judah ben Kalonymus of Mainz, the influence of the views articulated by the Ra'aviah would be consistent with the mention in the manuscript of Rabbi Kalonymus, possibly identified as the grandfather of Judah HaHassid. This would indicate that the manuscript emerged from the traditions and customs of the Chassidei Ashkenaz.


This final point allows us to conclude that the German pietists, as well as the 11th and 12th century rabbis of Northern France, were the principle influences on the liturgy in England of the 12th century. As evident from the rejection of the views expressed in the English compendium of Jewish Law Etz Chaim, written in 1287, despite their geographical proximity, in favour of the views of the German and French rabbis, one may surmise that the liturgy in England did not in fact take shape as a distinct character until influential rabbis of England, like Moses of London, formerly Oxford, his sons Elijah Menachem of London, Berachia of Lincoln and others, flourished in the 13th century. This period culminated in the compilation of an English compendium of Jewish law Etz Chaim, codified by Rabbi Jacob ben Judah Hazzan of London, written a mere three years before the edict for the total expulsion of the Jews from the shores of England in 1290.





[1]  Another early complete Ashkenaz Siddur with a Haggada is of the 13th-14th century at The British Library London Add. 27556 with a partial commentary on the prayers by Rabbi Eleazar ben Judah of Worms, also known as Eleazar Rokeach; a 14th century Siddur at the Bodleian Library Neub. Catalogue MS 1102 Oppenheimer collection; an incomplete 13-14th century Siddur at the Alliance Israélite Universelle Paris France, Ms. 133; 15th century Siddur at The Palatina Library Parma Italy Cod. Parm. 1773, among others.

[2]  The Earliest Dated Anglo-Hebrew Manuscript, Malachi Beit-Arie p. 1.

[3]  Folio 137 Kiddush for Passover.

[4]  Folio 154, Shfoch chamotcha.

[5]  Fol. 152.

[6]  See folio 152 for Psalms 113 (initially written 135 due to the same opening verse but corrected by different hand) and 114; folio 154 for Psalms 79:6; folio 155 for Psalms 115; folio 156 for Psalms 116; folio 157 for Psalms 117 and 118. However, no sources for other of verses in Psalms on folio 154 for ‘Pour out Your wrath’ and no source on folio 160 for Hallel Hagadol.

[7]  Lecture given at the Oxford Chabad Society by Dr. Tsur Shafir. May be found at .

[8]  Earliest Dated Anglo-Hebrew Manuscript, Malachi Beit-Arie. 

[8] The Earliest Dated Anglo-Hebrew.

[9]  The Earliest Dated Anglo-Hebrew Manuscript, Malachi Beit-Arie p. 20.

[10]  The Earliest Dated Anglo-Hebrew Manuscript, Malachi Beit-Arie p. 20; p.33. The translation of the script is: The year commencing first of July. All that I have since being here in England. From the Bishop of Bath half a mark. Also from the Count two and a half marks, twice. Also from William Chemille, three times four and a half mark. From the Bishop of Winchester five marks, twice. From Sir Walter Aud Luna half a mark, twice. Half a mark. From Rau Bruyerre five paid/also Bath. From Walter Gourdon paid (unidentified numeral)/also Chemille one mark. Also from Oucherty (?) during one year, five marks. Also Chemille half a mark/also Count half mark. Half a mark. All that I received from Sillington (?) at first from chetry payment (unidentified three numerals)/also from Stillington (?) in his writ to Norwich, one mark. Also from Stillington (?) by order of his clerk two marks, twice. Also I received by the writ of Sir Harry from the above noted Stillington (?) one mark. And payment 5 (?)/ total marks (unidentified numeral) / and payment 5(?) / all this received during a year. 

[11]  The Earliest Dated Anglo-Hebrew Manuscript, Malachi Beit-Arie p. 49.

[12]  See MordechaiPesachimSeder Shel Pesach, regarding story when Kalonymus the Elder, grandfather of Judah haChasid, forgot to eat Afikoman before reciting the blessing after the meal.

[13]  A testimony to a correction in the text of the Talmud[13] by a Meshulam ben Kalonymous before he passed away is mentioned in Rashi’s commentary to the Talmud. Tsur Shafir suggests another indication is in the laws of ritual slaughter where it states: ‘the French were stringent’ regarding not to eat a particular meat that was deemed not kosher. Tsur Shafir argues that it is striking that the manuscript would not mention Rabeinu Tam (1102-1170), when talking of the French rabbis in the context of Jewish law. Once Rabeinu Tam flourished one would not ignore Rabeinu Tam on a matter in Jewish law. This would suggest the author lived during the earlier part of Rabeinu Tam’s life before his flourishing: the first half the 12th century. 

[14]  See footnote 12 above.

[15]  Etz Chaim p.332; See also 13-14th century prayer book with Haggadah at the British Library (ADD MS London 27556) that has a number of poems at the end of the Haggadah. 

[16]  This is indicated by the opening of the Haggadah (Seder R’ Amram Gaon Warsaw 1865 p. 37 ), where it says: “that which you asked about the Seder of Pesach, this is how it is” and then proceeds with the order of the Pesach Seder and Haggadah. 

[17]  Introduction to Seder R’ Amram Gaon (Warsaw 1865).

[18]  Neubauer Catalogue of the Hebrew Manuscripts in the Bodeian Library and in the College libraries of Oxford p. 923.

[19]  Neubauer catalogue number 1095:1, Oppenheimer collection.

[20]  See  - accessed 20 Feb, 2017.

[21]  Neubauer catalogue wrongly writes 1425.

[22]  Introduction to printed version of Siddur Rav Amram.

[23]  Neubauer catalogue no. 1095. See introduction to Siddur Rav Amram.

[24] .

[25]  Siddur Rashi by Rashi was not a classic prayer book but rather a book of laws and practices of the prayers and all other areas of Jewish law based on the Talmud. See . It is referenced in the Tosafot Pesachim 114a and 154. We also know of two other works, called Siddurim, by two disciples of Rashi, in addition to Rabbi Simcha of Vitry: 11th century French Rabbi Joseph ben Samuel Bonfils, also known by the Hebrew name Tov Elem, and Rabbi Shemaya.

[26]  See .

[27]  MSS Oxford, Neubauer catalogue 637-639.

[28]  This would be consistent with the mention in the manuscript of Rabbi Kalonymus, possibly identified as the grandfather of Judah HsHassid. This would imply that Ra’aviah was in fact articulating views of his teachers. 

[29]  For the purpose of our study we will briefly outline the history of the Haggadah liturgy as it transitioned from the earliest work of the Mishnah (Pesachim 10), through the ages: It is first found in the post Temple work of the Mishnah, followed by an absence of copies of the Haggadah for centuries until the 9th century by Rabbi Amram Gaon (d. 875), Sa’adiah Gaon (882-942), Siddur Rashi and Machzor Vitry (11th century), Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah, followed by the Ashkenazi prayer book at Corpus Christi College of the first half of the 12th century. The first separate Haggadah is in the form of fragments found in the Cairo Genizah. The first complete separate Haggadah manuscript is from the 13th – 14th century and can be found in three categories: Sephardic, Ashkenazi and Italian. The Sephardic Haggadah contains, in addition to the text, miniature pictures depicting Biblical images that are many times unrelated to the Haggadah text. The most important manuscripts in this category are the 14th century Kauffmann Haggadah from Spain, the 14th century Sarajevo Haggadah from Barcelona and the 1320 Golden Haggadah from Spain. The Ashkenazi Haggadah, from Germany and France, contain contextual illustrations, the most famous of which include the 15th century Darmstadt Haggadah, the Birds’ Head Hagagdah from Franconia, Southern Germany (ca. 1300), which is the earliest illustrated Ashkenazi Haggadah to have survived as a separate book. Its name is derived from the human figures depicted in the Haggadah, who have birds’ heads with pronounced beaks. Reflecting the times, all the adult males in the Haggadah wear the conical “Jewish hat” that was compulsory for Jews in Germany during the Middle Ages. The third category of Haggadah manuscripts is Italian and includes the 1481 Pesaro Siddur from Pesaro, Italy. One can include in this category also the famous Washington Haggadah of 1478, believed to have been produced by Joel ben Simeon in Germany and then brought to Italy before coming to Washington. The earliest confirmed date of the printing of the Haggadah is in 1485 by Joshua Solomon ben Israel Nathan of Soncino, Italy. Another early printed Haggadah was produced in Guadalajara, Spain, by Shlomo ben Moshe Alkabez possibly 1482. Four further printed versions of the Haggadah were published in the 16th and 17th centuries, whose graphic layout and ornamentation influenced the subsequent printed form of the Haggadah. These include the Prague Haggadah of Gershom ben Sholom haKohen (1526), which is ranked one of the most beautiful books printed in the Renaissance, the Matua Haggadah (1560), the Venice Haggadah(1609) and the Amsterdam Haggadah (1695). The Amsterdam Haggadah illustrations became very popular and were imitated into the 18th century. Following the first printing of the Haggadah in Soncino in 1485, there have been an estimated 2,700 subsequent printings of the Haggadah, making it one of the most printed books of liturgy.

[30]  Exodus 6:6-7. Jerusalemite Talmud Pesachim 10:1.

[31]  Pesachim 109b.

[32]  Haggadah Shel Pesach Im Likkutei Tamim Uminhagim p. 33.

[33]  Tur Orach Chaim 474; Beit Yosef Orach Chaim 178.

[34]  Mishneh Torah, Laws of Chametz and Matzah 7:10.

[35]  Tur Orach Chaim 474.

[36]  Mordechai ben Hilel (c. 1250–1298), known also as The Mordechai, and Rabbi Nissim of Gerondi, known as the Ran (1320-1376).

[37]  Beit Yosef commentary on the Tur Orach Chaim 474

[38]  This is however disputed by a fragment of a manuscript stating that Rav Kohen-Zedek did not dissent from the opinions of his contemporaries. See Louis Ginzberg, Geonica (NY 1909 reprint n. d.) II, 185Further Studies in the Making of the Early Hebrew Book p. 457 by Marvin Heller.

[39] .

[40]  Sha’alot uTeshuvot haRashba 72.

[41]  Tamim Deim 30.

[42]  See Etz Chaim p. 332.

[43]  P. 276-7.

[44]  Etz Chaim p. 321.

[45]  Hagahot Maimoniyot, Bayit Chadash Orach Chaim 474.

[46]  Tur Orach Chaim 474.

[47]  In Sefer Hapardes L’Rashi (164 & 166) however it states clearly not to recite a blessing after the second cup of wine.

[48]  Fol. 137.

[49]  Beit Yosef commentary to the Tur Orach Chaim 474. Rabbi Isaac Alfasi would distinguish between wine drunk at the beginning of a meal after the washing of the hands for the meal and wine drunk before the meal (Bayit Chadash Orach Chaim 474). The reason for the prevalent custom, following the Gaonim, to only make a blessing after the fourth cup is because the grace after meals covers the first and second and the blessing after the fourth cup is sufficient to cover the third and fourth (Sha’a lot u’Teshuvot haRashba 72, as quoted by the Bayit Chadash Orach Chaim 474).

[50]  Pesachim 108a.

[51]  Sefer Hapardes L’Rashi 195.

[52]  Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 472:7.

[53]  Ha’aguda, Arvei Pesachim 92: .

[54]  Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 472:7.

[55]  This word is also found in Sefer Hapardes L’Rashi (128) and Shebbole Ha-leket by Italian Tosafist Rabbi Zedekiah ben Abraham Anav (1210 – c. 1280).

[56]  There’s a dispute in the Mishnah (Pesachim 114a) whether the Charoset is merely a custom or an obligation at the Passover table. 

[57]  Folio 250. He writes: And the vegetables – and the custom is parsley צרפוויל)) - should be dipped in salt water and not Charoset. As the mitzvah (to eat herbs) is with the second dipping, one should not fill up now on the herbs. If one does not have salt water it may be made even on Shabbat. And Maimoni writes the dipping should be in Charoset.

[58]  Beit Yosef.

[59]  Tosafot, Mordechai, Tur, Beit Yosef. Etz Chaim fol. 250.

[60]  Tosafot, Tur, Shulchan Aruch. Siddur at the British Library with commentary of Elazar of Worms, Add. 27556.

[61]  Mordechai, Pesachim ch. 10.

[62]  Haggadah Encyclopedia HaTalmudis p. 25.

[63]  Pesachim 114b.

[64]  Pesachim 114a.

[65]  Pesachim 114b.

[66]  Pirush Rabeinu Eliyahu of London, p. 151.

[67]  The custom to remove the two dishes (meat and egg) is also mentioned in Sefer Harokeach HagadolHilchot Pesach p. 64.

[68]  P. 295 - .

[69]  This might be the reason also for the removal of the half Matzah that is for the Afikomon in commemoration of the Paschal offering before the ‘Ha lachma anya’.

[70]  Pesachim 116a.

[71]  Pesachim 10:4.

[72]  Add. 27556.

[73]  A reason may be since the most visible item on the Seder plate is the bitter herbs.

[74]  Folio 140.

[75]  6:20.

[76]  Pesachim 10:4.

[77] Mechilta, Parshat Bo.

[78]  Add. 27556.

[79]  Da’at Zkeinim from the Tosafists; Machzor Vitry; Rabbi Simeon ben Tzemach Duran (1361–1444), known as Rashbatz, as quoted in Etz Chaim commentary on the Haggadah by Rabbi Yichye ben Rabbi Yosef Tzalach (Maharitz) (1713-1805), one of the most prominent rabbis of Yemen of the 18th century, p. 9.

[80]  Shibbolei ha-Leket in the name of Rabbi Zedekiah ben Benjamin, elder cousin of the author of Shebbolei ha-Leket, Rabbi Zedekiah ben Abraham Anaw; Etz Chaim commentary on the Haggadah by Rabbi Yichye ben Rabbi Yosef Tzalach (Maharitz), p. 9.

[81]  According to Rabbi Haim Palachi (1788–1868), the word ‘you’ may be read ‘about you’, suggesting the question is, why is it necessary to have a Divine commandment to respect one’s father (you) when it is logical to do so.

[82]  Sefer Hamamorim Melukat vol. 4, 221.

[83]  Rabbi Kalonymus of Rome is mentioned in Machzor Vitry and (without Rome) on Shebbolei ha-Leket; Rabbi Isaiah di Trani, mentioned in Shebbolei ha-Leket.

[84]  Pesachim 69b.

[85]  Rabbi Benjamin ben Abraham Anaw, brother of author of Shebbolei ha-Leket, Rabbi Zedekiah ben Abraham Anaw.

[86]  Arabanel (Zevach Pesach) explains the reason for it being a lamb is to remember that the exodus took place during the constellation of the lamb.

[87]  Rabbi David ben Joseph Abudarham commentary on the Haggadah; Abrabanel commentary on the Haggadah, Zevach Pesach. The answer to this question then is primarily in the verses in Deuteronomy that follows the question (6:21-25): “You shall say to your son, "We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and the Lord took us out of Egypt with a strong hand. And the Lord gave signs and wonders, great and terrible, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes (commemorative). And he brought us out of there (rational), in order that He might bring us and give us the land which He swore to our fathers. And the Lord commanded us to perform all these statutes, to fear the Lord, our God, for our good all the days (ultimate reward for the super-rational laws), to keep us alive, as of this day. And it will be for our merit that we keep to observe all these commandments before the Lord, our God, as He has commanded us." The answer to the wise son’s question in the Haggada about not eating after the Paschal lamb, is to say that in addition to the answer given in Deuteronomy to the questions asked, one should teach the wise son all the laws of Passover up until the final law that one should not eat after the Paschal offering, indicating the idea that the fundamental concept remaining on one’s mind should be the Exodus.  

[88]  Sefer Hamamorim 1940 p. 54.

[89]  Chagigah 2a, Rashi.

[90]  Laws of Korban Pesach 5:7.

[91]  Laws of Korban Pesach 5:7.

[92]  Kesef Mishnah on Mishneh Torah Laws of Korban Pesach 5:7. See Tzofnas Paneach (Hilchot Terumot 5:12) by Rabbi Joseph Rosen (1858-1936), known as the Rogatchover Gaon, who makes a distinction between specific designation of the minor and inclusion as part of the family (seh l’beit avot). In the latter the minor is merely an ancillary to the father and would have to bring a Pascal offering on the second Pesach.

[93]  Zevach Pesach by Don Isaac Abrabanel (1437-1508).

[94]  Siddur Arizal, Rabbi Isaiah Halevi Horowitz (1558-1628), author of the Shelah, and Rabbi Ya’akov Emden (b. 1697) – see Haggadah Shel Pesach im Likkutei Ta’amim Uminhagim by the Lubavitcher RebbeRabbi Menachem M. Schneersohn.

[95]  Exodus 15:9.

[96]  Exodus 14:31

[97]  Ma’aseh Rokeach; Haggadah shel Pesach im Liukketei Ta’amin Uminhagim

[98]  Another omission is the word ‘shana’ (year) on folio 139, where it states: ‘Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah said I am like seventy’ and the word ‘years’ was added in a different hand in the margin.

[99]  Pesachim 116b.

[100]  Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Chametz u’Matzah 8:5.

[101]  Quoted in the Abudarham commentary to the Haggadah. A reason for the feminine is to indicate a weakness of the Exodus, as further exiles followed. When written in the context of the future redemption, it should be written in the masculine (Mordechai, Pesachim, Arvei Pesachim).

[102]  Pesachim 116b.

[103]  Mishnah Pesachim 95a; Pesachim 85b.

[104]  Berachot 35a.

[105]  In the Mishnah it is not in either paragraph.

[106]  Tshuvat Hagaonim, Sharei Teshuva; Haggadah Encyclopedia HaTalmudis p. 52.

[107]  Etz Chaim, Rabbi Jacob ben Judah Hazzan of London, P. 327.

[108]  As recorded in the abridged version Kol Bo commentary on the Haggadah (Otzar Pirushim v’tziyurim al Haggadah shel Pesach p. 143, Chida and Zunz).

[109]  Etz Chaim p. 327.

[110]  Pirush Rabeinu Eliyahu of London, p. 152.

[111]  Etz Chaim p. 330. Rabbi Elijah writes however that no blessing is said at all on the Seder night over the HallelPirush Rabeinu Eliyahu of London, p. 155.

[112]  Mishneh Torah, Haggadah opening.

[113]  Psalms 79:7.

[114]  Psalms 79:7.

[115]  Psalms 69:25.

[116]  Lamentations 3:65.

[117]  Psalms 79:6.

[118]  Psalms 79:7.

[119]  Add. 27556.

[120] .

[121]  Psalms 79:6.

[122]  Psalms 79:7.

[123]  Psalms 69:25.

[124]  Psalms 69:26.

[125]  Psalms 35:5.

[126]  Psalms 35:6.

[127]  Psalms 5:11.

[128]  Lamentations 3:65.

[129]  Lamentations 3:66.

[130]  The Etz Chaim also lists eleven verses though with slight variation. Interestingly, it repeats three times the words ” For they have devoured Jacob”. 

[131]  Psalms 79:6.

[132]  Psalms 69:25.

[133]  Psalms 2:9.

[134]  Hosea 9:14.

[135]  Psalms 28:4.

[136]  Lamentations 3:6.5.

[137]  Lamentations 3:66.

[138]  Psalms 69:29.

[139]  Psalms 69:26.

[140]  Psalms 69:23.

[141]  Psalms 79:7.

[142]  Psalms 115:1.

[143]  Orchot Chaim, Hilchot Leyl haPesach 32; Mentioned also in Haggadah shel Pesach Im Likkutei Tamim Uminhagim – with English translation - p. 59 (Kehot 1990).

[144] .

[145]  Pesachim 10:1.

[146]  This is indicated also in the version of the Haggadah text in Etz Chaim, where sixteen verses are brought and then it states that a blessing should be recited over the Hallel that follows. See Etz Chaim p. 329.

[147]  It’s been also suggested that the size of the letters of the passage also reflects the level of freedom of the Jews at that particular time.

[148]  Pesachim 117b.

[149]  Pesachim 118a.

[150]  As found in the prayer book at the end of the Hallel.

[151]  A prayer in praise of G‑d that follows the verses of praise [pesukei dezimra] on the Shabbat and Festivals.

[152]  Encyclopedia Talmudis Haggadah Shel Pesach p. 75.

[153]  Ra’aviah argues that the double end blessings do not constitute an unnecessary repetition of a blessing (bracha l’vatala), as they are two separate parts of liturgy said usually at different times.  

[154]  Folio 161.

[155]  Tur Orach Chaim 481.

[156]  Shabbat 104a.

[157]  Machzor Vitry p. 298. See footnote 1 for authorship.

[158]  Sefer Hapardes L’Rashi 208; Sefer Haorah 2:47.

[159]  Ch. 74.

[160]  Ch. 218.

[161]  Sefer Harokeach Hagadol, Laws of Pesach, p. 61.

[162]  Folio 258 in Leipzig Library Manuscript.

[163]  Broken into two parts: One part before ‘Hamariv aravim’ and another before the blessing ‘ohev amo yisrael’.

[164]  Arugot Habosem by Hungarian Rabbi Moshe Greenwald (1853–1910), p. 369. 

[165]  Sefer Hatoda’ah by Rabbi Avraham Eliyahu Mokotow (1912 - 1976), also known as Eliyahu Kitov, p. 274. It appears that Rabbi Meir was Rashi’s teacher, as Rashi mentions him in his commentary to Psalms 73:2, Hosea 6:9 and Amos 3:12. He is also mentioned in Tosafot to Rosh Hashanah 11a.

[166]  Pesachim 118a.

[167]  Psalms 136.

[168]  Psalms 23:1.

[169]  Pesachim, Rif 26b

[170]  Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Chametz uMatzah 8:10.

[171]  Piskei Rosh Pesachim 10:33:1; Tur Orach Chaim, Beit Yosef 481. This is based on the wording of the view of Rabbi Tarfon who does not write it as an option but as a legal ruling, despite it contradicting the view of the Sages who only speak of four cups. The Rosh suggests it is for this reason the Rashbam maintains the view that the wording should be ‘fourth cup’ not fifth’ for nowhere does the Mishna or Talmud talk of a ‘fifth cup’.

[172]  Pesachim 99b; 117b. 

[173]  Maimonides according to the reading of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneersohn (1902-1994) - Likutei Sichot 27. p. 50. The Rebbe suggests that the idea of the cup may be to show gratitude for the overall completion of the Seder night with all the four cups of wine and the other mitzvot (ibid p. 51).

[174]  Ran commentary on the RifPesachim 27a. Tur Orach Chaim, Beit Yosef 481.

[175]  Rabbi Sa’adiah Gaon; Rabbi Sar Shalom; Rabbi Joseph Tov Elem; Rabbi Kohen Tzedek; Rabbi Sar Shalom Gaon, Rabbi Moses Gaon; Rabbi Hai Gaon according second reading of his opinion by Rabbi Joseph Karo; Ra’avad, Tamim Deim, 30. In his commentary on the Rif (Pesachim 118a) Ra’avad writes that it is praiseworthy (meshubach); Rif and Rabbi Moses ben Jacob of Coucy in Sefer Mitzvot Hagadol (Semag), quoted in Shiltei Giborim (Pesachim 118a); Ran commentary on the Rif, Pesachim 27a; Hagahot Miamoniyot (Chametz uMatzah 8:20). See Tur Orach Chaim, Beit Yosef 481.

[176]  Maimonides according to the reading of Rabbi Judah of Worms in his work Ma’aseh Rokeach, based on the fact that Rabbi Abraham, son of Maimonides, testified that his father, Maimonides, would not in practice pour a fifth cup of wine, despite writing in Mishneh Torah that one may do so. 

[177]  Rabbi Yosef Elem, quoted in the Tur Orach Chaim 481; Mordechai (Pesachim, haseder b’ktzara), quoted in Tur Orach Chaim, Beit Yosef 481. Rabbi Moses Isserles, known as Rema, Orach Chaim 481.

[178]  Rezah quoted by Rabbi Nissim of Gerondi, known as the Ran (1320-1376), in his commentary on the Rif, Pesachim 26b. Tur Orach Chaim, Beit Yosef 481.

[179]  Commentary on the Talmud Pesachim 118a.

[180]  Commentary on the Talmud Pesachim 118a.

[181]  The last words of the Haggadah in the Ashkenazi Siddur CCC MS 133 ‘so one should say over each cup of wine’ is perplexing. According to the Beit Yosef commentary on the Tur (Orach Chaim 481) it may suggest the possibility that if one would like to drink further cups of wine one should make sure to repeat the ‘great Hallel’, as just mentioned. The Bayit Chadash argues that this is an erroneous understanding of the text and that set of words is referring to opinion of Rashi that a blessing over the wine and after the wine is recited for every cup, as opposed to other opinion, who maintain that the blessings can be combined. While it is impossible to know categorically who is correct, the latter would be consistent with the argument in this study that the author of the prayer book was influenced by Rashi’s view. This text would therefore be better understood in this context, as per the latter understanding of the Bayit Chadash. In addition, the wording ‘over every cup’ would not seem to imply just a single additional cup.