When we left Egypt, we did not simply throw off the yoke of the Egyptians; we rethought our relationship with the species that “domesticated us,” suggests Chaim Strauchler. To commemorate that moment every year, we discard all the wheat (and the other four classic species of grain) that has not been prepared as matza. For the time span of seven or eight days, we declare our dominion over “our owner,” by controlling wheat consumption in a radical way.
Erica Brown considers why R. Jonathan Sacks introduces his Haggada with an emphasis on the family as the heart of the Passover experience. “R. Sacks makes the case that the Seder, what he calls the oldest of Jewish rituals, takes place at home because Judaism attaches immense significance to the family.” Read the review essay and an excerpted chapter from “The Jonathan Sacks Haggada.”
The opening sections of the Haggada seem to lack the organizing structure that characterizes the Seder. At first glance, the opening anecdotes and stories are jarringly disjointed and chaotic. But Marc Herman shows that, upon closer analysis, the beginning of the Haggada can be read as a how-to manual for the fulfillment of the commandment to recount the Exodus from Egypt.
The distinguished author Cynthia Ozick responds to Sarah Rindner Blum's recent essay "Living Antiquities: Ozick, Great Books & Judaism" (TraditionOnline) -- part of TraditionOnline'e ongoing series exploring the role of the classics in contemporary religious life.