Which haggadot did I look at this year?
My pre-Pesah hagagdah was the Haggadah of the Shelah from Hebrew books.org. For the Shelah, the Seder is a means to fight the myriads of evil klipot and evil forces in the world. Destruction of hametz is a sympathetic action for the immense battle with the klipot. The Mizvot of Passover all have powers of the divine name to fight the dark side. The activity of reciting the seder at Bnai Brak was a time of new revelations of Torah, new hierophanies of the divine to fight the evil.
Reb Zadok in Resesai Laylah was an internalization of these ideas to apply to our inner evils of pride, lust, anger. Eating as a mizvah at the seder is a tikkun for our faults not the worlds.
In the Shelah, the halakhic part by the Nesivos mentions cleaning the walls, as is known. I should look into the reality behind that for next year.
I was handed at one seder the Riskin Haggadah from 1983 reflecting his late 1970’s sermons. It read as a period piece of his sermons, values, and issues. For example, Why does “they that stand up” ve he she-umda mean? He says that homiletically it means not God’s covenant is everlasting but that the cup of wine is ever lasting and that if we give up drinking non-kosher wine it will protect us from our enemies. It has all his sermons about the need living in Israel, the need for activism, and apologetics about Judaism’s attitudes toward women and gentiles. It also had in his own name his baby carriage story “Do you ever buy a baby carriage?” In public he tended to present it as a Hasidic tale but since the punch line is about the need for ordinary people to act- it is a very non-Hasidic story. Here he takes his credit.
The Uri LeZedek Haggadah supplement was a hugh success in my neck of the woods. When I looked at it I did not see much new Torah and I saw lots of derashot somehow trying to tie in Rav Solovetichik. But people loved it. They should expand it and produce a beta version of a full haggadah for
Pesah 2012 and then get it to market by Nov 2012 for the Passover 2013 orders.
They can commission more comments; collect everything relevant from past haggadot
They should include the Rav Yisrael Salanter stories on caring for your workers.
They should also include the midrashim on the nature of the work and slavery work that the
jaws did in Egypt (and include the Gra on 4 types of slavery)
They should look at the Historian Ben Zion Dinur who collected the statements on the role of work and working in hazal. And finally, they should get stuff from kibbutz hadati movement on the virtue of labor.
I was handed a dreadful Rav Soloveitchik Haggadah locally produced- stick to the Passover notes of Noraos HaRav by R. David Schreiber.
I was then handed a vanity press Rav Yonatan Eybeschutz Haggadah which I enjoyed for the author not the editor. It made me want to go back to the original as a teaching text. Every chance he could, Rav Eybeschutz brought in acute messianism and the need for sinning for the sake of heaven. Real Sabbatian proto-Izbitz. Lots of Eighteenth century issues like encouraging his congregants to keep the Sabbath (On the high deviance level of his community, see Azriel Shochat, Im Hilufei Tekufot)