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The Haggadah in the service of politics

The previous list dealt with the Passover holiday in its political meaning, starting from the Biblical period, the current list will focus on the Passover Haggadah. One of the talkback players picked up a ball for me to land. I promised him that I would address the issue of the Haggadah and Harini is now paying the bill

Passover Haggadah, Vienna, 1954-1929, National Library
Passover Haggadah, Vienna, 1954-1929, National Library

The previous list took care In the Passover holiday in the political sense, starting with the biblical period, the current list will focus on the Passover Haggadah. One of the talkback players picked up a ball for me to land. I promised him that I would address the issue of the Haggadah, and Harini is now breaking the bill,

In one of the following lists as part of the series "The Priesthood as You Didn't Know It" I will refer to the connection between the rebellion in the days of Emperor Trianus and the priesthood in the days of President Raban Gamaliel, I wrote about the rebellion in general on the "Hidan" website several years ago. Here, in this list, I will examine the connection between the Haggadah and the presidency of the Land of Israel in the perspective of the historical events of that period of time - the year 113 AD approximately and from then until before the Revolt of Ben Khosba (or in its popular name, the Revolt of Bar Kochba).

Well, we are in a very dynamic period of restoring the relationship between the Romans and the Jews, and this after the great revolt, when the Jewish society is gradually enjoying almost the same privileges it had before the revolt, and the president of the House of Gamaliel is once again taking his honorable place at the head of the political system of the Jewish society.

The president makes every effort to forge the relationship with the Romans and at the same time makes sure that thoughts of rebellion, including calculations of the end and redemption dates are minimized as much as possible and this is evident in the deliberations of the Sanhedrin Divna under his leadership. That is - make peace and not war!

So what is the difference between this and the Passover Haggadah? And really this is the question of the million Roman gold dinar. Among the research community, the opinion is formed that the Passover Haggadah takes shape and is formulated during the days of President Raban Gamliel, and I would like to attack this from two aspects: chronological and essential.

the chronological

The most famous is the work of the president, when he ruled (probably at the beginning of the second decade - 113 CE) that anyone who did not say/do these three words did not escape his duty, and these are: Pesach, Matza, and Meror, and scholars agree that this is a general wording Passover after the Holocaust and a reference to that famous, mythological work, called "The Passover Haggadah".

When was the Haggadah written? Well, the wording as it appears before us in print first belongs to the days of Rabbi Saadia Gaon, but the origin of the Haggadah is hundreds of years earlier. So when? The key to dating writings in the ancient era in the absence of chronological landmarks is the Latin terminus ante quem and terminus ad quem, which relies on the mention of certain characters in the given text. The latest dating of the later character determines the date of writing. Well, in the Passover Haggadah Rabbi Yehoshua, Rabbi Elazar ben Azaria, Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Yehuda and Rabbi Yossi are mentioned. Some of them did indeed live and work in the days of Rabbi Gamliel, but Rabbi Yossi and Rabbi Yehuda lived and worked after the death of Rabbi Gamliel.
It therefore follows that the Passover Haggadah was drawn up after the death of Rabbi Gamliel, in the midst of a polemic of Kitus (118-117 CE), the tail of the rebellion against Trianus in Judea, and perhaps even in the early twenties of the second century CE, during the reign of Hadrian.


The rebellion against the Romans and the beginning of the planning of Ilia Capitolina in the days of Emperor Hadrian, as a basis for the next rebellion of Ben Kusava, constitute an interesting correlation to the opposite trend in the days of President Raban Gamaliel. During the president's days, as mentioned, the relationship between the Jews and the Romans deteriorated and the Sanhedrin dealt with visions of peace and coexistence while denying any trace of rebelliousness among the Romans. Whereas after his death, the rebellious voices increase, mainly, for example, from the mouth of Rabbi Akiva or from the mouth of Rabbi Elazar ben Azaria - two of the protagonists of the plot of the Passover Haggadah.

The Passover Haggadah should therefore be attributed to the period after the death of President Raban Gamaliel and the creation of the background for the rebellion of Ben Kusava, and what is more appropriate for making souls for the rebellion than the Passover Haggadah saturated with symbols taken from the Exodus from Egypt. The entire Haggadah stands as a sign of the end of slavery and the beginning of freedom, but that is not enough, it mentions as a miracle the plagues that Yahweh inflicted on Egypt, "And the Lord our God brought us out from there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm", "And the sages say: The days of your life, this world, all the days of your life - to bring to the days of the Messiah", "The Merciful He will save the days of the Messiah and the life of the world to come. Magnifies the salvation of his king and does kindness to his Messiah, David and his seed forever", or "And we showed you, O Lord our God, in the comfort of Zion your city, and in the building of Jerusalem your holy city" and also: "And build Jerusalem the holy city quickly in our days. Blessed are you, Jehovah, who builds Jerusalem with his mercy. Amen".

It sounds very reasonable for a believer to mutter and memorize this, except that such sayings in the days of Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakhai and Rabbi Gamaliel were simply not said for the above reasons, and on the other hand, these are very suitable for the atmosphere that preceded Ben Kusava's rebellion and even during it, such as the vision of the building of Jerusalem and the temple as well as messianic motifs.

It follows from this that the Haggadah was written in the pre-Kosabhi era or during it and was used as a kind of public brainwashing before the outbreak of the rebellion. It is worth noting in this context that the Passover celebration prior to the destruction of the Second Temple took place and was conducted in the temple as an integral part of the pilgrimage, while after the destruction, certainly not in the days of Ribaz - as evidenced by the order of Pesachs in the Mishnah - but from the days of Rabbi Gamliel, the celebration and meal moved to the home, to the family, To the circle of friends and friends, and just as Rabbi Gamaliel made sure that the Eighteenth Prayer be said in one form and at predetermined times, so Passover became a fixed, family currency and at a later stage, just a few years later, the Haggadah was arranged for it. The Haggadah turned the family Passover event into a kind of rolling educational series, and what could have been more appropriate to include in it, after the passing of Rabbi Gamaliel, than statements and allusions supporting rebellion and messianism. These statements were supposed to cushion, ideologically and pragmatically, the outbreak of the rebellion against the Romans.

More of the topic in Hayadan:

14 תגובות

  1. Dr. Shurk,
    You are right and there are not too many innovations here, the fact that "there were revolutions in Bnei Brak", they say that this is the planning of the rebellion.
    Rabbi Akiva was the reason for the rebellion and no observant Jew should hide as if this were not the case.
    The Haggadah is indeed supposed to symbolize redemption in some ways and it is certainly possible that it was so in the past.
    However, even an observant Jew would admit that Rabbi Akiva was wrong and that Bar Kochba was not the Messiah, and by the way Zil Gomor.
    It should be noted that there is a fairly reasonable belief that the disciples of Rabbi Akiva did not die in the plague but in the war, which strengthens the narrative of counting the Omer and intensifies the mourning (the Messiah did not come at that time).
    But then again, an observant Jew does not need any reason to be afraid of dealing with facts of this kind.

  2. Dr. Sorek, the first interpreters of the Tanakh were the Germans, they divided the Tanakh into chapters and lines, hundreds of years passed until the religious Jews accepted this division, do not despair, continue to investigate and enlighten our eyes,

  3. Honorable Yossi

    Let us decide and agree that right is with you and wrong is with me. Rather, try to convince me with words of taste and logic why I am wrong

  4. Joseph:
    What is certain is that nothing comes out of your mouth.
    A collection of blasphemies, curses and moral preaching without any real content.

  5. Mr. Whistle:
    In vain your mouth cancels 60 tractates and thousands of books and thousands of thousands of disciples of the sages of the ages and the foundation of the people of Israel.
    The hatred of the peoples of the lands for the TAH is written in the Talmud and not just in memory.
    But besides them there were various types of pretenders and grudges like you.
    These types were called "types" by types of commentators and preachers who distorted the sources according to their distorted view.
    Likewise, sex like you is also not a novelty, it was a long time ago and suddenly you are back again..
    Gabiha ben Pasisa where did he sharpen your tooth. They probably don't bother you.

  6. Yossi Shalom

    Invalidating own imperfection invalidates:
    First of all, it is said to be tzim and not lytzim, secondly - the people of the land is the salt of the earth in the biblical period and belonged to the junior priesthood during the Second Temple period. Only historical distortion made the concept negative. Third - if I am prevented from interpreting the words of the sages, how do you interpret differently?!

  7. Mr. Whistle:
    How do you pretend to interpret the words of the sages, don't you understand how to read a letter form in the Talmud.
    Your whole call is like a rooster calling atonement in humans which surely you don't understand either.
    With the land in the service of the peoples of the lands and Moshav Litz.

  8. An interesting thing that was not mentioned in the article is the closeness between the Pesach seder and the symposium. Against the background of the decrees and prohibitions for certification, and studying Judaism, those rebels engaged in the preparation of souls and the planning of the rebellion under the guise of a Roman symposium, the four cups of yeshiva in seba and even the combination of a philosophical discussion, a meal, a drink, and table games were a cover for their subversive activities. It is not difficult to imagine, Rabbi Akiva and a friend of his people, who would sit all night and recount the exodus from Egypt, justifying their actions as a symposium, before the Roman patrol that came to look for rebels in the cave in Bnei Brak.

  9. Nice hypothesis, nothing more.
    From here to the flashy title "The Haggadah in the service of politics" there is some distance, unless we are talking about a journalism website.

  10. "The Merciful One will save you for the days of Messiah and for the life of the world to come. Magnifies the salvation of his king and does kindness to his Messiah, David and his seed forever", or "And we have shown you, O Lord our God, the comfort of Zion, your city, and the building of Jerusalem, your holy city" and also: "And build Jerusalem the holy city quickly in our days. Blessed are you, Jehovah, who builds Jerusalem with his mercy. Amen"

    To the best of my recollection, these are quotes from the blessing of food. Is it correct to attribute their appearance also in the blessing of the food that appears in the Haggadah to the process of preparing hearts for rebellion?

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