Ritual for Passover eve. Ex. xiii. 8, R. V., reads: "And thou shalt tell thy son in that day, saying, It is because of that which the Lord did for me, when I came forth out of Egypt." On the basis of that passage it was considered a duty to narrate the story of the Exodus on the eve of Passover (Mek. ad loc.). Whether there was such a ritual for that service in the days of the Temple is, perhaps, doubtful. The New Testament reports of the Passover celebration of Jesus (Matt. xxvi. 17-30; Mark xiv. 12-26; Luke xxii. 1-20) contain nothing beyond a statement in two of the sources that a hymn was sung (Matt. xxvi. 30; Mark xiv. 26), which was undoubtedly the "Hallel." The first mention of any such ritual is found in the Mishnah (Pes. x. 5), where it is reported that R. Gamaliel said, "One who has not said these three words on Passover has not done his duty: 'pesaḥ,' 'maẓẓah' [unleavened bread], and 'maror' [bitter herbs]." It is impossible to suppose that Gamaliel desired merely these three words to be pronounced; he must have meant that the eating did not fulfil the Law (Ex. xii. 8) if the spiritual meaning of the act was not recognized. The opinion is held by many scholars that this Gamaliel was the first of that name (Landshuth, "Hagadavorträge," p. xv., Berlin, 1855; Müller, "Die Haggadah von Serajewo," p. 6, Vienna, 1898), but this opinion, based on the fact that Gamaliel speaks of the Passover lamb, is hardly warranted. It is much more reasonable to assume with Weiss ("Dor," ii. 74) that Gamaliel II. arranged a Passover ritual, just as he arranged the ritual for the daily service and for the grace after meals, because the destruction of the Temple had made it necessary to find new methods of public worship. The mere fact that R. Gamaliel introduced a ritual proves conclusively that the services of Passover eve already existed. This is also borne out by the Mishnah (Pes. x. 4): "The son shall ask his father about the meaning of the ceremonies, and according to the maturity of the son shall the father instruct him. If the son has not sufficient intelligence to ask, the father shall inform him voluntarily." This is done in literal fulfilment of the Biblical passage: "And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the Lord brought us out from . . . the house of bondage" (Ex. xiii. 14). Of such questions, the Mishnah, as the context shows, antedates the time of Gamaliel, preserves four:

"What is the difference between this night and all other nights? On all other nights we eat leavened or unleavened bread; on this night only unleavened?" ". . . On all other nights we eat various herbs; on this night only bitter herbs?" ". . . On all other nights we eat our meat roasted, cooked, or stewed; on this night only roasted?" ". . . On all other nights we dip [the vegetable with which the meal begins] only once [into salt]; on this night twice?"

Earliest Portions.

This portion has, with some slight alterations, due chiefly to the abrogation of the sacrifice, remained in the present ritual, and its initial words, "Mah Nishtannah," are used as the name of the Haggadah, as in the question: "What has Korah [] to do in the Mah Nishtannah?" Another old part of the ritual is the recital of the "Hallel," which, according to the Mishnah (Pes. v. 7), was sung at the sacrifice in the Temple, and of which, according to the school of Shammai, only the first chapter (cxiii.; according to the school of Hillel, only the first two chapters, cxiii.-cxiv.) shall be recited (Pes. x. 6). After the Psalms a benediction for the Redemption is to be said. This benediction, according to R. Tarfon, runs as follows: "Praised art Thou, O Lord, King of the Universe, who hast redeemed us, and hast redeemed our fathers from Egypt." According to R. Akiba, there should be added the prayer: "Mayest Thou, O God, allow us to celebrate the coming holy days, rejoicing in the rebuilding of Thy city and exulting over Thy sacrificial cult; and may we eat of the sacrifices and of the Passover lambs! Praised art Thou, Redeemer of Israel!" Another passage in theMishnah ("It is therefore our duty to thank, praise, exalt, and magnify Him who hath done for us and for our fathers all these wonders, who hath led us forth from slavery to freedom, from sorrow to joy, from mourning to feasting, from darkness to full light, from bondage to redemption! We shall say in His presence 'Hallelujah!'") is, like the introductory remark, "Everybody shall consider himself as if he had been personally freed from Egypt," evidently not originally intended as a prayer, although it has been embodied in the Haggadah.

Another part of the oldest ritual, as is recorded in the Mishnah, is the conclusion of the "Hallel" (up to Ps. cxviii.), and the closing benediction of the hymn "Birkat ha-Shir," which latter the Amoraim explain differently (Pes. 116a), but which evidently was similar to the benediction thanking God, "who loves the songs of praise," used in the present ritual. These benedictions, and the narrations of Israel's history in Egypt, based on Deut. xxvi. 5-9 and on Josh. xxiv. 2-4, with some introductory remarks, were added in the time of the early Amoraim, in the third century; for in explanation of Pes. x. 4 ("He shall begin with the disgrace [i.e., with the reciting of the misery] and shall end with praise"), Rab remarks, "He shall begin with the words, 'In the beginning our forefathers served idols'"; while Samuel says, "We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt"—both of which are found in the present ritual. In post-Talmudic times, during the era of the Geonim, selections from midrashim were added; most likely Rab Amram (c. 850) was the originator of the present collection, as he was the redactor of the daily liturgy. Of these midrashim one of the most important is that of the four sons, representing four different attitudes toward religion: the wise (or studious), the wicked (or skeptical), the simple (or indifferent), and the ignorant (who is too unintelligent to ask for enlightenment). This division is taken from the Jerusalem Talmud (Pes. 34b) and from a parallel passage in Mekilta (13-14 [ed. Weiss, p. 28b]); it is slightly altered in the present ritual, chiefly owing to a mistake in the quotation of Deut. vi. 20 (Landshuth, l.c. p. viii.). These four sons were an attractive subject for illustrators and engravers, and the types found in an Amsterdam Haggadah of the seventeenth century are still largely reproduced. Other haggadic sayings are freely repeated, as the story of R. Eliezer, who discussed the Exodus all night with four other rabbis, which tale is found in an altogether different form in the To-sefta (ed. Zuckermandel, p. 173; see Zunz, "G. V." p. 126). The custom of reading selections from the Talmudic Haggadah antedates Rab Amram, for his predecessor, Rab NaṬronai, speaking of those who omit these selections (possibly the Karaites), says that they have failed to fulfil their duty, that they are heretics who despise the words of the sages, and that they shall be excommunicated from every Jewish congregation (Weiss, "Dor," iv. 115 [ed. Friedmann, p. 10]).

The Haggadah as a Book.

The costliness of manuscripts may have suggested at an early time the writing of the ritual for Passover eve in a separate book. This could hardly have been done, however, before the time of Maimonides (1135-1204), who included the Haggadah in his code ("Yad," after "Ḥameẓ"). The opinion of Friedmann (p. 9), that special books containing the Passover service existed in Talmudic times, is based on a judgment of Raba in favor of a man who claimed a Haggadah ("Sifra de-Agadta") from an estate under the plea that he had lent it to the deceased (Shebu. 46b). This interpretation, however, is not probable, for, according to Rashi, who is upheld by the context, the passage speaks of homiletic works. Existing manuscripts do not go back beyond the thirteenth century, the time, probably, when the service for Passover eve was first written separately, since no mention of the fact occurs in earlier writings. When such a volume was compiled, it became customary to add poetical pieces. This is mentioned in "Tanya," which is an abstract of Zedekiah ben Abraham Anaw's "Shibbole ha-Leḳeṭ," written about 1250 (Landshuth, l.c. p. xviii.). These piyyuṭim were not written for this service, but were selected from other collections. The most popular among them is Addir Hu; another one, beginning , is fragmentary (Landshuth, l.c.). At the end of the service are two nursery-songs, EḤad Mi Yodea' and Ḥad Gadya.

The Haggadah has been very often printed. Adolf Oster of Xanten endeavored to collect all available editions, and in 1890 had acquired 230 (Rahmer's "Jüd. Lit.-Blatt," xvi. 54, xvii. 62, xix. 56); but S. Wiener was able to count 895. The oldest edition extant was printed in Italy, probably in Fano, about 1505; but at least one edition must have preceded it, probably that bound up with the copy of the "Tefillat Yaḥid," Soncino, 1486, and which is now in the possession of M. Sulzberger. From early days it has been customary to translate the Haggadah into the vernacular for the benefit of children. Aaron ha-Kohen of Lunel (14th cent.) mentions it as a laudable custom, and says that it was done in England (Moses Isserles, in his commentary on Ṭur Oraḥ Ḥayyim, 473). A Latin translation was printed in Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1512 (Wiener, "Bibliographie der Oster-Haggadah," No. 4), but this was not for the use of Jews. An edition of Salonica, 1567, contains only the laws in Ladino, but Venice editions of 1609 contain translations of the whole Haggadah into Ladino, Italian, and Judæo-German. From the sixteenth century on the Haggadah was very frequently commentated, mostly from the homiletical point of view. The Wilna edition of 1892 contains 115 commentaries. Typical in this respect is the haggadic commentary of Aaron Teomim, in the edition of Amsterdam (1694-95), entitled "Ḥilluḳa de-Rabbanan." In modern times free translations and modifications have been made, chiefly with the object of eliminating the fanciful Talmudic haggadot. Such are the translations of Leopold Stein (Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1841), H. M. Bien ("Easter Eve," Cincinnati, 1886), I. S. Moses (in the first ed. of the "Union Prayer-Book," pp. 227-257, Chicago, 1892), and Maybaum (Berlin, 1893).

Page from an Illustrated Manuscript Haggadah of the Fifteenth Century.(Formerly in the possession of the Earl of Crawford.)
  • Zunz, G. V. pp. 126 et seq.;
  • Landshuth, Hagadavorträge für die Beiden Pessachabende, with bibliographical notes by Steinschneider, Berlin, 1855;
  • Cassel, Die Pessach Hagadah, Berlin, 1866, 9th ed. 1901;
  • M. Friedmann, Das Festbuch Haggadah nach den Quellen, etc., Vienna, 1895;
  • Müller and Von Schlosser, Die Haggadah von Serajewo. Vienna, 1898;
  • Wiener, Bibliographie der Oster-Haggadah, St. Petersburg, 1902;
  • Greenberg, The Haggadah According to the Rite of Yemen, London, 1898;
  • Grunwald, Feast of Passover and Folklore.
  • For periodicals see Schwab, Répertoire;
  • see also Mittheilungen der Gesellschaft für Jüdische Volkskunde, passim, and Jew. Chron. April 18 and 25, 1902.
D.Illumination and Illustration.

The Haggadah, being the chief ritual work for home use in which none of the questions in regard to using human figures for decorative purposes could arise, afforded manifold opportunities for illustration. Accordingly some of the very earliest manuscript copies contained illuminations and miniatures. Of such illustrated manuscripts executed before the spread of printing about twenty-five are known, of which twenty are described in the elaborate work of Müller and Von Schlosser (see bibliography). These are of great variety, in both subject and treatment. Generally speaking, the topics illustrated are either (a) historic, centering upon the Exodus; (b) Biblical, reproducing Biblical scenes without definite reference to the Exodus; or (c) domestic, relating to the actual scenes of the Seder service. The later of two Haggadahs in the Germanic Museum at Nuremberg is especially noteworthy for illustrations of the last type. The German Haggadah possessed by D. Kaufmann, which he dated about 1322, appears to confine its illustrations to the Exodus and an elaborate zodiac. The fifteenth-century Haggadah in the Bibliothèque Nationale has initials, and domestic and historic scenes; while an elaborate manuscript in the possession of Baron Edmond de Rothschild has highly original domestic and Biblical scenes executed in quattrocento style.

Illustrated Printed Editions.

With the introduction of printing, this variety in illustration for the most part ceased. The numerous illustrated editions show a distinct tendency toward monotony, and confine themselves almost entirely to what has above been termed the domestic and the historic sides of the old illuminations. Most of the scenes are now grouped, and the domestic incidents showing the various details of the Seder service are given very often in one engraving. Similarly, the Ten Plagues which were scattered through the manuscripts are now put upon one plate. Most of the manuscripts give the four types of inquirers separately (comp. Müller and Von Schlosser, l.c. pp. 175, 195), but in the printed editions these are combined into one engraving, the wicked son invariably being a soldier; whereas in the manuscripts this latter type does not occur until quite late, as, for example, in the Crawford and Balcarres German manuscript of the sixteenth century.

The Four Types of the Haggadah.(From a Passover Haggadah, Vienna, 1823; in the possession of J. D. Eisenstein.)Page From an Illustrated Manuscript Haggadah of the Fifteenth Century, Showing Preparations for Passover.(In the possession of Baron Rothschild, Paris.)

The first illustrated edition appears to be that of Prague, 1526, and was followed by that of Augsburg, in 1534. These set the type of illustrations for the whole of northern Europe, especially for Prague and Amsterdam editions. Of the Italian type, the first illustrated edition appears to be that of Mantua, of 1550, followed by that of 1560, the latter having illustrations surrounding each page. The editions of Venice, 1599 and 1629, also contain a considerable number of figures, and from these were derived the Haggadot used in southern Europe. Both northern and southern types almost always confine themselves to the following scenes: Rabbi Gamaliel; the preparation of the maẓẓot; scenes of the Seder service; the Exodus, with the Ten Plagues.

  • Jacobs and Wolf, Catalogue of the Anglo-Jewish Historical Exhibition, London, 1887, edition de luxe;
  • Müller and Von Schlosser, Die Haggadah von Serajewo, Vienna, 1898;
  • M. Schwab, in R. E. J. Aug., 1902.