The Alshich did not write a specific commentary on the Haggadah; however, in his vast body of writings, he explains many of its ideas and themes. In this adaptation, we study the Haggadah as the Alshich understood it. Utilizing his unique method of asking stimulating questions on which he focuses his commentary, the Alshich combines the classic teachings of the Sages with his own insights and often presents a truly original approach to the questions posed.
Questions such as: how can we integrate the hidden message of the order of the Seder into our daily living? Why does the Seder experience begin with an invitation to strangers to join us at our meal? What is the thread that connects all the questions of the Four Sons? Why does the Haggadah place such emphasis on Rabbi Yehudah's three-word acronym of the Ten Plagues? These are a small sample of the queries and comments addressed in this fascinating commentary.
More works have been written on the Haggadah than almost any other book in Torah literature — and rightly so. Every Seder is enriched by the presence of commentary after commentary, insight after insight, interpretation after interpretation. With the publication of this edition, English readers who have difficulty with scholarly Hebrew commentaries can see for themselves why the Alshich is considered one of the greatest of Torah expositors and why his commentary ranks amongst the seventy authentic ways to understand Torah. The Alshich's multi-faceted commentary provides thought-provoking questions and comments, together with novel insights and answers, in ample measure.
Who was the Alshich?
Rabbi Moshe Alshich (1508-1600), reverently referred to as HaAlshich HaKadosh (the Holy Alshich), was a dayan on the Tzefas Beis Din (Rabbinical Court) of Rabbi Yosef Caro, author of the Shulchan Aruch. He was also an early mentor of the Kabbalist Rabbi Chaim Vital. Although the Alshich wrote many halachic responsa, he is most noted for his Tanach commentary, based primarily on his regular Shabbos sermons. This monumental work has been hailed by more than four centuries of Torah scholars as one of the greatest expositions ever written on Scripture. In it, he expounds on complicated passages, answering fundamental questions of faith and Jewish belief. The Alshich uses his creative insight and his encyclopedic knowledge of Tanach, Talmud and Midrash to weave together his profound interpretations of Tanach. Studying Torah, Nevi’im and Kesuvim, by the bright light of the Alshich’s commentary will warm the heart and illuminate the mind of every reader, from the nascent newcomer to the advanced talmid chacham. No less a personage than the Arizal, who would attend the Alshich’s Shabbos derashos, described the Alshich’s commentary as possessing אַחַת מִׁשִבְעִים פָּנִים בַּתּוֹרָה , one of just seventy authentic ways to understand Torah — a rare accolade indeed.
From the Approbations
Rabbi Avie Gold has masterfully selected and translated the Alshich’s illuminating interpretations and deep insights of the verses in the Torah that refer to yetzias Mitzrayim and the Seder night. These have been written in a lucid, pleasing English and will undoubtedly augment and enhance the readers’ concept and understanding of the Haggadah, thus enriching the Seder and Pesach experience overall.
—Dayan Menachem Gelley, Rosh London Beis Din / Rav of Beis Hamedrash Ohr Chodosh
Studying the Haggadah as interpreted by the Alshich will shed new light on its lessons, and will illustrate how the holy words of Chazal have their foundations in the verses of Tanach, and will reveal the depth, beauty, and power of our traditions…This will undoubtedly enhance the English readers’ understanding of the miracles of the Exodus …
—Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky Rosh Yeshiva, Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia
This work will be a vital aid to those to whom the Hebrew text is not an option. It will also aid those who can read the original, but to whom English is not their mother tongue, and it will help clarify and make the words of the Alshich even more alive and understandable.
—Rabbi Zev Leff, Rav of Moshav Matityahu
Rabbi Avie Gold has skillfully translated and presented the commentary of Rabbi Alshich to our English-speaking generation in this book. He has done so with faithfulness to the text and clarity and insight in its translation. This Haggadah is therefore worthy of being on one’s Seder table, and its profound insights should provide for great discussion and intellectual stimulation on the holy night of Pesach.
—Rabbi Berel Wein, Historian, author, and international lecturer