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The Haggada of the Jewish Idea

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The Haggada of the Jewish Idea

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The Haggada of the Jewish Idea
Haggadat ha-Ra'ayon

A Pesach Haggada with Commentary by Binyamin Zev Kahane HY"D
Translated by Daniel Pinner
Edited by Lenny Goldberg
HaMeir L'David: Ariel, Israel (2003)
ISBN: 965-90509-0-9

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - February 10, 2004

The Haggada of the Jewish Idea is a Pesach (Passover) Haggada that can be used not only at the Seder table, but also as a study text on both the teachings of the Pesach story and on the concept of the "Jewish Idea" as expounded upon by Rabbi Meir Kahane zt"l in his two-volume work, Ohr ha-Ra'ayon (The Jewish Idea). This Haggada includes an extensive commentary based upon Rabbi Kahane's teachings, which was written by his son, Binyamin Zev Kahane hy'd.

The text of the Haggada, itself, is presented in Hebrew with an English translation on the facing page. The text is clear, dark, and well organized for use during the Pesach Seder. Instructions are provided, as needed, on how to conduct the seder. The commentaries, which are in English, are differentiated from the main text by being printed with a greyish background. Illustrations are scattered throughout the text, and a glossary, that includes biographical information about many of the luminaries mentioned, can be found at the end of the book.

Rav Kahane's commentaries are eloquent and enthralling and he examines the Pesach story in exquisite detail. He not only explains the basic foundations of Judaism and the teachings inherent in the Pesach story, but he also elucidates his father's teaching about the "Jewish Idea" and the importance of every Jew in the galut (diaspora) returning to Israel - immediately. He examines the belief, held by many, that there is no halachic (religious law) compelling them to move to Israel, and the belief held by still others that the State of Israel can only come into existence after the arrival fo the Moshiach. Rav Kahane explains why both of these contentions are wrong, and why it is vital, as a means of hastening the Redemption, that every Jew must return to the Land of Israel. Throughout, Rav Kahane's commentaries are interwoven with excerpts from the Torah, Talmud, and other religious texts, as well as quotes from renowned scholars ranging from Rambam and Sifri to the Vilna Ga'on and Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook zt"l.

The commentaries that accompany this Haggada emphasize the true meaning of the events surrounding the Exodus from Egypt and the receiving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. The lessons that can be learned from this historic event are important, both in relationship to how we can incorporate the teachings of Pesach into our day-to-day lives and what it means in terms of the coming Redemption.

For those not familiar with the abbreviation, HY"D, please note that it stands for HaShem Yimkom Domov and means, HaShem should avenge their blood. It is used to denote those that were murdered (especially in Israel). Binyamin Zev Kahane and his wife, Taliya, where murdered by Arab Terrorist in December of 2000. They left behind six orphans, five of whom where injured in the attack that took their parent's lives.

A collection of commentaries on the Jewish Holidays by Rav Kahane is also available from The discourses contained in this compact volume where selected from Rav Kahane's weekly Parsha commentary, Darka Shel Torah. Included in this anthology are discourses on Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Succot, Chanukah, Purim, Pesach, Yom Yerushalayim, Lag B'Omer, Shavuot, and Tisha B'Av. This volume also includes a selection of his writings on current events and issues.

Please note: The views expressed in The Haggada of the Jewish Idea and Rav Kahane's collection of commentaries on the Jewish Holidays, do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the book's reviewer or The Jewish Eye.

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