The law of relating the story of the Exodus at night has been observed by our forefathers ever since the Exodus itself. In the early years, when Israel was still in the desert, and when they first entered Eretz Yisrael, there was no fixed format as there is today.

  • Apart from the 'Egyptian Hallel' which was said while the people were still in Egypt, each head of family would have decided for himself how to tell the story to his child.
  • When the 'Men of the Great Assembly' fixed a set pattern for prayers and blessings, they also established a fixed version for the Haggadah.
  • At the time of the Mishnah, we find that there was already a fixed format for Ma Nishtana, and for the analytical Midrash study beginning Arami oved avi.
  • In the course of time, ‘midrashim’ were added to the basic version, and the present version was more or less complete and fixed in the time of the Geonim.
  • One question which had been changed even earlier was that asking why on other nights we eat meat cooked any way we want, but on this night only roasted. This was because the korban Pesach (Pesach sacrifice) ceased with the destruction of the Temple.
  • Likewise, the Aramaic Ha lakhma anya was introduced, with the words “this year here, next year in Eretz Yisrael!”.
  • Similarly, songs and poems have since been added, but the basis of the Haggadah was fixed by the 'Men of the Great Assembly' (Talmud Berakhot 33).

 

 

 

 

 

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05 Jan 2006 / 5 Tevet 5766 0