Last week, I mentioned the Haggadah shel Pesach with commentary by Rabbi Eliezer Berkovits, entitled Faith and Freedom. The editor of this anthology of Rabbi Berkovits’ many writings is a scholar named Rabbi Reuven Mohl, and he is to be commended on a job well done.
This week, I began to peruse another Haggadah, this one an anthology of the writings of Rabbi Chaim Zeitchik, a mussar master of the Nevardok school. These two authors were exact contemporaries of each other and both were Holocaust survivors. However, they were very different personalities and the contrasts between them are apparent in their works.
Rabbi Berkovits was schooled in Germany and was a close student of Rabbi Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg at the Hildesheimer Seminary in Berlin. He escaped Germany, taking Rabbi Weinberg’s writings with him. Those writings eventually became the basis of Seridei Aish, Rabbi Weinberg’s halachic responsa. Rabbi Berkovits’ Haggadah focuses upon historical and theological themes. Rabbi Zeitchik’s themes are quite different and focus mainly upon the individual and his or her capacity for spiritual growth. Both Haggados are excellent.