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Oxford's Rare Machzor Vitry Haggadah: A Passover Essay

Friday, 6 April, 2012 - 1:55 pm

 Bodleian.jpg

This essay will look at an important Oxford manuscript of the principle text of the holiday of Passover, called the Haggadah, which is read in homes during the Passover Seder dinner on the night of Passover. The manuscript is a commentary to the prayer book, called Machzor Vitry, composed by Rabbi Simcha ben Samuel of Vitry (died 1105), a student of the great commentator of the Torah and the Talmud, Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (1040-1105).

 

 

There are only three manuscripts of this work extant and one is found in Oxford’s Bodleian library (Neubauer, Cat. Bodl. Hebr. MSS. No. 1100), in addition to the British Library and Reggio.

 

The Machzor Vitry also includes a commentary to the liturgy of the Haggadah and as an eleventh century work it serves as one of the oldest versions of the complete Haggadah liturgy with commentary in existence after the Gaonic period.

 

The development of the Haggadah liturgy is somewhat obscured in history, as between the earliest version mentioned in the 3rd century work of the Mishna (tractate Pesachim) and subsequently in the Talmud in 5th century, there are no further complete texts extant with the liturgy of the Haggadah until the 9th century by the Head of the Babylonian Jewish Talmud academy, Rabbi Amrom Gaon, and the Machzor Vitry in 11th century.

 

It is evident however that by the time the 11th century arrived the principle liturgy of the Haggadah had already developed, which is very much expanded from how it is found in the Mishnah. 

 

The work of the Machzor Vitry therefore provides us an important early text indicating what the liturgy looked like in the 11th century, serving as the bases for later versions.

 

In this essay we will look at unique texts that seem to be first found in the Machzor Vitry and now form a well accepted part of the Haggadah, variations to our current liturgy and we will also present interesting insight in to the Haggadah liturgy of the Machzor Vitry.

 

A brief survey of manuscript and early printed Haggadot

 

We will first present a survey of the earliest Haggadot that were composed similar to the Haggadah how we are familiar with it today it in its current form. As mentioned, the first version of the Haggadah is in the Mishnah in tractate Pesachim (chapter 10). This text can be found below. It is assumed that, as with the liturgy of prayers, the main body of the Haggadah was composed by the Men of the Great Assembly during the time of the second Temple period. However, as is obvious from the Talmudic discussions, the precise text continued to be a matter of discussion and debate.

 

The first to compose a text that was accepted throughout all Jewish communities was Rabbi Amram Gaon (died 875), who was head of the Jewish Talmud Academy of Sura in the 9th century. Approximately sixty years later, his successor, Rabbi Saadia Gaon (892 – 942), composed a Haggadah with some changes and emendations.

 

These two texts provided the basis for two of the subsequent most important versions of the Haggadah, the Machzor Vitry and Maimonides.

 

The oldest extant version of the Haggadah dates from the tenth century and is part of the Siddur of Saadiah ben Yosef Gaon. There is no known manuscript of the entire text in existence, though there is a near complete manuscript in Oxford (Neub. Cat. 1095).

 

The second oldest but first completely preserved text of the Haggadah is the Machzor Vitry, the subject of our essay. As mentioned, one of three rare manuscripts of the Machzor Vitry is found in the Bodleian library in Oxford with some additions. Thus, two of the most important manuscripts that form the world wide accepted Haggadah today are found in the Bodleian library in Oxford.

 

The Machzor Vitry Haggadah, as Saadia’s Haggadah, however, is not a separate work but is a part of a general prayer book with liturgy for the whole year and contains also commentary and many laws and traditions. The Machzor Vitry, composed by a student of Rashi, is assumed to be similar to the text of the prayer book by Rashi, called Siddur Rashi.

 

The first separate Haggadah fragments that exist are found in the Cairo Genizah. The first complete separate Haggadot that have been preserved are from the 13th – 14th century. There are three categories to these works, Sephardi editions, Ashkenazi and Italian.

 

The Spehardic Haggadot contains, in addition to the actual text, miniatures depicting Biblical images that are not necessarily directly connected to the Haggadah text. The most important manuscripts in this category are the Kauffmann Haggadah (Spain 14th century), the Sarajevo Haggadah (Barcelona, 14th century) and the Golden Haggadah (Spain, 1320).

 

The Ashkenazi Haggadot, from Germany and France, contain contextual illustrations, and the most famous include the Darmstadt Haggadah (15th century) and the Birds’ Head Hagagdah (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. The enigmatic practice of drawing bird and animal heads in place of human faces is found in other medieval Ashkenazi manuscripts but has yet to be fully explained, though it may relate to the Biblical prohibition against making graven images. 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 are Italian and include the Pesaro Siddur (Pesaro, Italy, 1481). One can include in this category also the famous Washington Haggadah (1478) that is believed to have been produced by Joel ben Simeon in Germany and then brought to Italy before coming to Washington. It currently resides in the Library of Congress.

 

Printed Haggadah

 

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 separate Haggadah was produced in Guadalajara, Spain, and is speculated to have been created by Shlomo ben Moshe Alkabez in 1482, though this date is unconfirmed.

 

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 in to 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 in Judaism.

 

Machzor Vitry

 

Due to the extensive development of the Haggadah and the enormous evolution of the manuscript and printed copying of the Haggadah, it is of interest to look at the one of the earliest manuscript forms of the Haggadah extant and identify unique approaches introduced in this ancient manuscript.

 

In the Haggadah text there are two aspects. One is the essential core of the text, including the Biblical readings pertaining to the slavery of the Hebrews in Egypt and the Exodus, and peripheral aspects of the Haggadah, which include the order, additional Piyutim liturgy, instructions, closing hymns, titles of sections and the title of the work itself, much of which has no source in the first formulation of the Haggadah in the Mishnah.

 

In this essay, we will look at a number of variations that are evident in the Machzor Vitry in comparison with other medieval Haggadah manuscripts, particularly Maimonides and the version of the Haggadah we have today.

 

The name of the Haggadah

 

We find four names given to the Haggadah. The Mishnah itself, as below, does not seem to ascribe any name to the text that should be recited at the Passover Seder. It merely states: They poured for him the second cup, and here the son asks his father: “How is this night different from all other nights? According to the understanding of the son, his father teaches him. He begins with disgrace and concludes with praise, and he expounds from “An Aramean sought to destroy my father,” (Deuteronomy 26:5) until he concludes the entire section.”Aggadah.JPG

 

 

It appears that the Mishna emphasises the concept of teaching and the disgrace and praise of the Jewish people. In the Talmud (Pesachim 116a) there are two opinions as to what is meant by disgrace and praise. Rav said, we recite: Originally our ancestors were idol worshippers, etc. Shmuel said, we recite: we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt. The Talmud continues that Rav Nachman indeed commenced with, we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt and completed the Haggadah with praises and expression of gratitude to G-d.

 

Thus, one can understand that according to the Mishna the text of the Hagaddah is fundamentally a work of praise of G-d, who saved us from distress. The word Haggadah however is not used in the Mishnah.

 

The first time a specific title for the liturgy seems to be offered is in the Talmud, where we find two terms. In tractate Pesachim (116b) it states, Rav Acha bar Yaakov said: a blind person is exempt from reciting the “Haggadah”. The Talmud challenges this statement: Mereimar has said: I once asked the Rabbis of Rav Yosef’s academy, who was the one that recited the “Aggadata” in Rav Yosef’s house? They said in reply Rav Yosef. This is despite the fact that he was blind! The Talmud answers that the Rabbis hold that Matzah nowadays and, the recounting of the Exodus, is only a Rabbinic obligation and therefore may include also the blind.

 

Similarly, the Talmud (p. 115b) asks what the reason is for the washing of the hands twice on the Seder night. The Talmud answers because there are two dippings of vegetables. One is the Carpas vegetable and the second the Maror bitter herbs, each one requiring the washing of the hands beforehand. The Talmud further questions why there is not a single washing for both dippings? The Talmud answers that since one must recite the “Aggadata” and “Hallel” (praises) between the two dippings, perhaps one will become distracted during that interval and touch an unclean thing with one’s hands.

 

We can deduce from the two words juxtaposed – Aggadata and Praise – that the word used for the Haggadah in the 5th century, Haggadah or Aggadata does not mean praise but “to tell”, the other simple meaning of the word Haggadah. This is derived from the Hebrew word in Exodus (13:8): “You should tell (Vehigadata) your son on that day”. The Babylonian Talmudic meaning of the word Haggadah therefore means “to tell the story of the Exodus”.

 

The Jerusalemite Translation of the Torah implies that the word Haggadah actually means “to praise” G-d for taking us out of Egypt. This is based on the Jerusalemite translation of the verse in Deuteronomy (26:3): “I praise (Higadeti hayom) this day”.

 

Rabbi Saadia Gaon also translates the word Higadeti as praise.

 

The most common word Haggadah can therefore mean either to tell the story of the Exodus or to praise G-d for the Exodus. However it is interesting that while Maimonides in Mishneh Torah (Laws of Matza “Text of the Haggadah” uses the term Haggadah, the Machzor Vitry diverges from this precise title and uses the word “Aggadah”, as referring to the text of the liturgy of Pesach.

 

One can assume that if Machzor Vitry uses the term Aggadah for the liturgy, as is likely his teacher Rashi would have done so as well, and the Ashkenazi world would have likely followed his example, as opposed to the Sephardic communities who would have followed Maimonides, who uses the term Hagagdah.

 

It is not clear what the reason for this difference is between the Ashkenazic and Sephardic communities of the 11th and 12th centuries and at what point they united, choosing the now common name Haggadah, generally adopted regardless whether one is of the Ashkenazic or Sephardic tradition.

 

The structural order of the evening - Seder

 

Seder Hagaddah.JPGThe Haggadah that is commonly used structures the Seder evening into fifteen steps: Kadesh - the recitation of Kiddush; Urchatz - washing the hands; Karpas - eating a vegetable dipped in salt-water; Yachatz - breaking of the middle matzo; Maggid - the recitation of the Haggadah; Rachtzah – washing of the hands a second time; Motze - the recitation of the blessing hamotzi; Matzah - the recitation of the blessing on the matzo, eating the matzo; Morror - eating the bitter herbs; Korech - eating a sandwich of matzo and bitter herbs; Shulchan Oruch -eating the festive meal; Tzafun - eating the afikomen; Bayrech – the recitation of grace; Hallel - the recitation of Hallel psalms of praise; Nirtzah - our prayer that G-d accepts our service.

 

This specific listing of the order of the Seder is neither found in the Mishnah, Talmud and also not in Maimonides. However it is common in all Haggadot today.

 

The first Haggadah that seems to have a listing is the Machzor Vitry, which states that “this is the order set by our teacher Rabbi Shlomo (Rashi). However, the list does not have fifteen listings but fourteen, as it leaves out from the list (not the procedure) the breaking of the Matza in half - Yachatz.

 

Seder.JPG

 

Interestingly, the Machzor Vitry itself quotes Rabbi Yosi Hagadol who lists twenty four items, which merely breaks the list down into more categories.

 

Maimonides doesn’t have a list of the Seder procedure in his Haggadah liturgy at all. However, Rabbi Avraham ben Harambam quotes the order his father, Maimonides, established containing fifteen items in total, albeit very different wording to the list we have today. It is similar to the poetic list that the Machzor Vitry writes himself, as opposed to Rashi’s version, but condensed into a list of fifteen items. Maimonides is thus closer to the number that we have today, while the wording of Rashi, quoted in the Machzor Vitry, for the first time, is identical to the version we have today, though missing one item - Yachatz.

 

This is the bread of affliction

 

One of the most interesting and enigmatic parts of the Haggadah is the opening paragraph:

 

“This is the bread of affliction that our fathers ate in the land of Egypt. Whoever is hungry, let him come and eat; whoever is in need, let him come and conduct the Seder of Passover. This year we are here, next year in the land of Israel. This year we are slaves, next year free people.”

 

This is the only section of the Haggadah that is recited in Aramaic, as opposed to the rest of the Haggadah in Hebrew. In all the modern Haggadah liturgies the paragraph is indeed in Aramaic, aside for the words in Hebrew “next year”, which is in Hebrew, and written twice, once pertaining to exile versus Israel, and a second time relating to slavery versus freedom.  

 

This is also found in the Machzor Vitry Haggadah that has the whole paragraph in Aramaic aside from the words – twice - “next year”.

 

Maimonides similarly writes the paragraph in Aramaic but writes the first “next year” pertaining to the land of Israel in Hebrew - L’shana haba’ah - whereas the words “next year” pertaining to being free people in Aramaic - l’shasa d’asya, as the rest of the paragraph.

 

Why is it written in Aramaic?

 

The Machzor Vitry writes that the reason why this paragraph is in Aramaic is because it predates the Second Temple Haggadah text to when the Jews resided in Babylonia during the first exile, when the vernacular was Aramaic, and the composer desired that everyone should understand what is being said in this fundamental paragraph.

 

According to the Machzor Vitry, the paragraph is essentially inviting those who don’t have Matza to come and eat the Matza and those who need to partake in the foods that are connected with the Pesach offering, including the bitter herbs and the Afikomon, should come and partake in the traditions and laws of the holiday. The opening “This is the bread of affliction” is indicating that the person should raise the Matza when this is announced.

 

At the end of the paragraph, when it says ‘this year we are here as slaves’, it is referring to the status of the Jews in Babylon as slaves and the prayer is the hope that they will go out from slavery as free people and return to Israel.

 

We thus see a difference between the Ashkenazi custom established by the Machzor Vitry to recite the section in Aramaic, besides the repeated words “next year”, and the Sephardic tradition to only recite “next year” once in Hebrew – referring to the prayer to be in the land of Israel next year.

 

This might reflect the attitudes towards the level of persecution between these two communities, whereby the sentiment to return to Israel was politically less problematic at the time than the desire to be free, which might have been seen as a call to resist against the presiding authorities of the times.

 

Translate – Veloez!

 

Hei Lachma Anya etc..JPG

 

At the end of this paragraph, as well as at the end of the following “Mah Nishtana” - Why is this night different than all other nights - paragraph, the Machzor Vitry writes a word which is not found in any printed Haggadah: “Veloez” (Translate!)

 

The reason for this is that the main purpose of the first paragraph “This is the bread of affliction” is to stimulate the questions in the second paragraph. After the raising of the plate with the Matza and inviting everyone to eat and partake of the Matza and the uncommon bitter herbs, the children should be provoked to ask “Why is this night different from all other nights?” It is therefore important that both paragraphs should be translated into whatever language was the vernacular of the Jews at the particular time.

 

The statement by the Machzor Vitry that the “Mah Nishtana” should also be translated is the source for the custom in many communities that a child recites the “Mah Nishtana” in the Hebrew and then translates it into Yiddish.

 

According to the Machzor Vitry, then, the paragraph “Mah Nishtana” - Why is this night different, etc. - is not actually meant to be said at all by the adult participants of the Seder. It is merely articulating what should be asked in the vernacular by children in the own words.

 

The reason for the question is due to the need for the Haggadah to be recited in the form of a question and answer, based on the verse in Deuteronomy (6:20): “If your child asks you tomorrow, etc. you shall say to your child, we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt”. The liturgy of the Haggadah is merely to articulate the question but need not be a precise text.

 

The Talmud illustrates this point (Pesachim 115b): Abaye as a child was sitting at the Seder table before Rabbah and he saw that they were lifting the traylike table and removing it from before Rabbah. Abaye said to them: we have not yet eaten and they come and remove the tray from before us! Rabbah said to him: You have exempted us from saying the Mah Nishtanah.

 

If the child is not clever enough to ask the questions contained in “Why is this night different” - even in the simplest form - following the stimulation of the declaration “This is the bread of affliction” and removal of the tray, then the Mah Nishtana needs to be recited.

 

Why is this night different from all other nights?

 

The four questions is the first part of the Haggadah liturgy that is found in the Mishnah and dates back to the Second Temple period when Hebrew was spoken as the vernacular. The order, however, of the four questions vary amongst the early works.

 

The Mishna lists the questions as follows: “How is this night different from all other nights? For on all nights we eat hametz and matzah, this night is all matzah. For on all nights we eat all types of vegetables, this night maror bitter herbs. On all the nights we eat roasted, shaluk stewed, and cooked meat, this night it is all roasted. For on all nights we dip once, this night twice.”

 

It is evident that the Mishnaic version is from when the Temple stood, when they offered the Pesach offering and roasted it before eating.

 

The early extant manuscript versions of the four questions, however, have all been modified since the destruction of the Temple in 70AD, as there is no purpose for the question about the Pesach sacrifice.

 

The Machzor Vitry lists the four questions similar to the Mishna, merely omitting to the Pesach sacrifice question and substitutes it with the question about the custom to recline while eating the Matza and drinking the wine at the Seder. The order of the four questions according to the Machzor Vitry is then: Matza, bitter herbs, dipping and reclining. The first three questions do not appear to have been changed in their order.

 

Maimonides in his liturgy of the Haggadah in Mishneh Torah seems to change the actual order of the four questions: first comes the question of dipping, then Matza, followed by bitter herbs and finally reclining.

 

According to commentaries, as is evident, the reason for this change in order of the first three original questions is to reflect the order of events that is presented to the child at the Seder dinner. First there is the dipping of the vegetable in salt water, to remind of the slavery, then the eating of the Matza, followed by the bitter herbs.

 

The reclining is added last, even though it accompanies the drinking of the wine and the eating of the Matza that comes earlier since the question was added later in history compared to the other questions. It only became a question after the period when it was no longer customary to recline when dining. As such, it is listed last according to all opinions.

 

While Maimonides’ opinion is different from the Mishna in the Babylonian Talmud, it follows the order found in the Jerusalemite Talmud (Mishna) that lists the question of the dipping first. The version of Maimonides is similar to the earliest versions of the Haggadah, including Rabbi Amram Gaon and Rabbi Saadia Gaon, and it is also the order found in the first printed Haggadah in Soncino, 1485.

 

The order of the Machzo Vitry seems then to follow an opinion that was not adopted by the Babylonian Gaonim who preceded him and also diverges from the Sephardic communities of Maimonides in Spain and other places.

 

It can be assumed that the order of the four questions in the “Mah Nishtana” was a subject of argument between the Sephardic and Ashkenazic communities and the difference in versions are also apparent today, as one of the main differences between the two communities’ Haggadot. The Ashkenazim follow the Machzor Vitry order of the four questions and the Sehardic communities, as well as Chabad editions, follow the Sephardic order.

 

The possibility of this divergence of opinions might be due different versions of Talmud manuscripts that are known to have existed. It is known that Maimonides had knowledge of old manuscripts of the Talmud, particularly from Yemen, that were slightly different in certain places than the Talmud we have today, on which he evidently bases some of his rulings (see Rabbi Eli’s essay on the Mishneh Torah manuscript at the Bodleian library).

 

It’s possible that for this reason in the Mishneh Torah, laws of Chametz and Matza (ch. 8:2), Maimonides lists five questions during the Temple period, including: dipping, Matza, bitter herbs, Pesach offering roasted and reclining.

 

Conclusion about the four questions – importance of asking a question

 

The reason for various versions of manuscripts of the Talmud relating to the four questions might be due to the nature of the four questions themselves. The order and number of questions are less important than their content. Even a simple question “Why?” is sufficient to allow the recitation of the Haggadah about the slavery and the exodus to proceed, as explained earlier.

 

The modern dispute between the Ashkenazi and Sephardi liturgies based on the version of the Machzor Vitry and Maimonides is not particularly relevant and has no implications, as long as the question “Why is this night different?” is asked.

 

Great Nation

 

Another interesting difference found in the Machzor Vitry Haggadah is pertaining to the text of the Haggadah referring to the Jews in Egypt as merely a distinct nation or a great nation. The narrative of the Haggadah has two principle parts, based on two opinions in the Talmud (Rav and Shmuel, tractate Pesachim ch. 10), that were both adopted in the accepted text of the Haggadah. One is relating to the transition of the Jews from slaves to freedom. The second is the narrative that predates the slavery in Egypt, when the ancestors of the Biblical Patriarchs were idol worshippers and their being brought to the service of G-d as a distinct nation.

 

Great nation.JPG

 

As part of this history the Jews went down to Egypt few in number – seventy souls - and arose as a nation. This is drawn from the verse in Deuteronomy (22:10): “With seventy souls, Your forefathers descended to Egypt, and now the Lord, your God, has made you as the stars of heaven in abundance.”

 

Following this passage it states in the Haggadah: “And he became there a nation – this teaches that Israel was distinctive there”. The Machzor Vitry, as a few other versions, adds to the above text and writes “And he became there a great nation”.

 

In the Haggadah of Maimonides, Rabbeinu Sa’adiah Gaon and Rabbi Sherirah Gaon, the word “great” is omitted.

 

The reason for this might be because the words ‘And he became a nation’ is only relevant to extrapolate the concept that they became a separate and distinct nation while in Egypt. The meaning to this is, as quoted in the notes to the Machzor Vitry Haggadah, quoting from the Midrash Exodus Rabbah, that while in Egypt the Jews did not assimilate by changing their food customs or clothes, making themselves distinct as a separate nation.

 

The word ‘great’ in this context, therefore, does not add to this idea in any way. In addition, the word ‘great’ is indeed mentioned in the following extrapolation in the Haggadah: “Great and Mighty – as it is said (Exodus 1:7): And the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, and multiplied and became very, very mighty, and the land became filled with them.” The first “great” becomes therefore redundant.

 

It is interesting therefore that the Machzor Vitry does include the word “great” in this context, as does the Haggadah of the great liturgist Rabbi David ben Josef Abudarham (fl. 1340, Seville Spain). The obvious reason is due to the fact that it is a continuation of the verse: “With seventy souls, Your forefathers descended to Egypt, and now the Lord, your G-d, has made you as the stars of heaven in abundance”, indicating in this same verse that not only did they became a nation but they became a great nation.

 

It could be suggested that the Machzor Vitry is indicating that the word “great” here is not referring only to their fruitfulness in terms of offspring but to explain that a nation that lived in Egypt for over two hundred years and held on to their distinct customs without assimilating deserves the term “great”.

 

__________

 

Original Mishna text of the Haggadah - Mishna Tractate Pesachim (chapter 10)

 

Preparation

 

(3) They then set [vegetables] before him, he dips the lettuce until he comes to parperet ha-pat [the eating of the matzah, i.e., one may not eat anything between the vegetables and the matzah]. They set before him matzah, lettuce, haroset, and two dishes, even though the haroset is not an obligation. Rabbi Eliezer the son of Zadok says: It is an obligation. And in the Temple they would set before him the body of the Pesah sacrifice.

 

Outline of Haggadah text

 

(4) They poured for him [the] second cup, and here the son asks his father. And if the son does not have knowledge [to ask], his father teaches him: “How is this night different from all [other] nights? For on all nights we eat hametz and matzah, this night is all matzah. For on all nights we eat all types of vegetables, this night maror [bitter herbs]. On all the nights we eat roasted, shaluk [stewed], and cooked meat, this night it is all roasted. For on all nights we dip once, this night twice.” According to the understanding of the son, his father teaches him. He begins with disgrace and concludes with praise, and he expounds from “An Aramean sought to destroy my father,” (Deuteronomy 26:5) until he concludes the entire section.

 

(5) Rabban Gamliel would say, Whoever has not said [i.e., explained] these three things on Pesah has not fulfilled his obligation, and these are: Pesah, matzah, and maror. Pesah, [the sacrifice] because the Omnipresent passed over [pasah] the houses of our fathers in Egypt. Matzah - because our fathers were redeemed from Egypt. Maror - because the Egyptians embittered the lives of our fathers in Egypt. In each generation a man is obligated to regard himself as if he came forth out of Egypt, as it is written “And you shall tell your son on that day, saying, ‘It is because of that which the Lord did for me when I came forth out of Egypt’ ” (Exodus 13:8). Therefore we are obligated to thank, to praise, to laud, to glorify, to exalt, to adorn, to bless, to elevate, and to honour Him Who did all these miracles for our fathers and for us; He brought us forth from slavery to freedom, from grief to joy, from mourning to Festival, from darkness to a great light, and from servitude to redemption. And we shall say before Him, Halleluy-ah.

 

(6) Until where does he recite? The School of Shammai say, Until “As a joyful mother of children;” while the School of Hillel say, Until “The flint into a fountain of waters.” And he concludes with [a blessing of] redemption. Rabbi Tarfon says, “Who has redeemed us and has redeemed our fathers from Egypt,” and he would not conclude [with a “Blessed ...” formulation]. Rabbi Akiva says, [It is necessary to add] “So may the Lord our God and the God of our fathers cause us to reach other holidays and Festivals which come to us in peace, joyous in the building of Your city and happy in Your service, and may we eat there from the [hagigah] sacrifices and from the Pesah sacrifices ...” until “Blessed are You, O Lord, Who redeemed Israel.”

 

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