Review of The Night That Unites Passover Haggadah Softcover Edition

March 29, 2015

By Dov Peretz ElkinsThe Night That Unites

The philosophies of three major Jewish personalities lie at the heart of this Haggadah. Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, and Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach believed that the Jewish people have a critical role to play in demonstrating and sharing a unique way of life with the world. As Jews, we share in the universal historical experience of mankind and therefore must contribute to the benefit of all humanity.

The artwork on the cover of this Haggadah depicts three concentric circles of human endeavor as uniquely taught by these spiritual giants, moving outward from the individual to the collective whole. At the center lies the importance of the individual. Each Jew is to forge his or her path and engage in a life dedicated to the ideals and mitzvot of the Torah. Second, beyond our individual concerns, we are also called on to develop and thrive as a nation. Finally, there is a third sphere which takes us beyond our individual and national concerns; we are called upon to take a unique place in inspiring the world, praying for, and working towards the Redemption of all humanity.

Offering a fresh and original look at the Seder night, this Passover Haggadah is a unique compilation of the teachings of Rav Kook, Rabbi Soloveitchik, and Reb Carlebach. Together with discussion questions and contemporary insights, this Haggadah powerfully engages the reader on the most compelling and memorable night of the year – The Night That Unites.

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Review of The Night That Unites

June 3, 2014

by Rabbi Elan AdlerThe Night That Unites

Can you make room for 3 more at your table? You’ll want to with this new Haggadah by Rabbi Aaron Goldscheider. In this one magnificent 300-page contribution to the genre of Pesach seder volumes, the author brings us the wisdom and inspiration of 3 giants of our people: Rav Kook, Rabbi Soloveitchik and Reb Shlomo Carlebach. Their comments on various aspects and themes of Seder night are interwoven with the author’s own insights, and what you hold in your hand, and eventually read avidly from cover to cover, is a goldmine of interpretations, teachings and stories for everyone at the table.

Rabbi Goldscheider has gifted us with several valuable and practical aspects to this Haggadah which make it welcome and exceptional. First, the title of the comments of each of the 3 rabbinic giants is highlighted in a different color-Rav Kook in red, Rav Soloveitchik in green, and Reb Shlomo in blue. Keeping this in mind, the seder leader can choose comments from all the Rabbis in page order, or choose to focus on just one or two for the evening. As I read through the Haggadah, I put sticky notes on every comment that I couldn’t wait to share at my seder. Rav Kook’s “Ahavat Eretz Yisrael,” Rav Soloveitchik’s “Ahavat Torat Yisrael” and Reb Shlomo’s “Ahavat Am Yisrael” break through again and again in brief whisps of depth and elegance. The author uses conversational language in each presentation, so no seder participant needs to struggle with hard words or clunky translations of the text. Each comment of the Rabbis aims for the intellect as well as the heart. Rabbi Goldscheider skillfully chooses master lessons by each of the greats, and drops them into the Haggadah at just the right moments. No matter what “color commentary” one chooses, each individual teaching is “delicious” you can’t wait to serve it at your seder. Read the rest of this entry »


An Old Story, Newly Retold

June 1, 2014

by Steve Lipman The Night That Unites

The three rabbis — Abraham Isaac Kook, the first Ashkenazic chief rabbi of Israel; Joseph Ber Soloveitchik, for decades the philosophical leader of the Modern Orthodox movement; and Shlomo Carlebach, the troubadour whose music became the soundtrack for a few generations of Jews — whose thoughts about Passover Rabbi Goldscheider brings together, numbered among the most influential  leaders of 20th-century Judaism. All shared an open-minded spirit that transcended denominational labels, though all were Orthodox.

“The great rabbinic personalities featured in this volume share common cause in their profound desire and great efforts to bring unity to our people,” Rabbi Goldscheider writes in his introduction. Ordained by Yeshiva University, he served as a pulpit rabbi in the U.S. for two decades and now lives in Jerusalem.

He supplements the rabbis’ teachings with additional readings (“special sections”) on kindness, the Holocaust and Israel, and discussion questions. And illustrative tales from the rabbis’ lives.

The Haggadah’s layout makes it easy to follow the order of the seder, and Perlmutter’s drawings at the start of each section are spectacular. The book is comprehensive, but may better serve as a study guide before Passover; a collector’s item, it’s another Haggadah you will fear staining.

The full review appeared on thejewishweek.com


Review of The Night That Unites

May 23, 2014

by Jay Michaelson The Night That Unites

“The wise son, and to me, hands down the best new entry of the year, is “The Night That Unites,” published by Urim Publications and assembled by Aaron Goldscheider. At $39.95 per copy, it makes a good case for a downloadable app. But buy one copy for the treasure trove of insights, primarily from Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, Rav Kook, and Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. Like many interpretation-rich Haggadot, this one is not suitable for seat-of-the-pants, read-as-you-go use at the Seder. Rather, it rewards advance preparation; bookmark your favorite parts, and share them on the first night of Passover.

What “The Night that Unites” misses, interestingly, is the incongruity of its three primary sources. This trio is a motley crew indeed: the rational legalist, the nationalistic mystic and the hippie. Unfortunately, “The Night that Unites” often lapses into hagiography, whitewashing Soloveitchik, Kook and Carlebach into three barely distinguishable exemplars of everything good and righteous. Ironically, “The Night that Unites” unites too much. It would have benefited from exploring the productive tensions between these three luminaries, rather than glossing them over.

Still, I learned a lot, and considering that I’ve reviewed a dozen Haggadot in each of the last six years, that’s saying something.”

The full review of “All the 2014 Haggadah Info You’ll Ever Need” is on The Jewish Daily Forward


Why a Haggadah?

April 11, 2012

by Jonathan Safran Foer

I SPENT much of the last several years working on a new Haggadah — the guidebook for the prayers, rituals and songs of the Seder — and am often asked why I would want to take time away from my own writing to invest myself in such a project.

All my life, my parents have hosted the Seder on the first night of Passover. As our family expanded, and as our definition of family expanded, we moved the ritual dinner from our dining room to our more spacious, mildewed basement. One table became many table-like surfaces pushed awkwardly together. I always knew Passover was approaching when my father would ask me to take the net off the ping-pong table. All were covered in once matching, stained tablecloths.

At each setting was a Haggadah that my parents had assembled by photocopying favorite passages from other Haggadot and, when the Foers finally got Internet access, by printing online sources. Why is this night different from all others? Because on this night copyright doesn’t apply.

In the absence of a stable homeland, Jews have made their home in books, and the Haggadah — whose core is the retelling of the Exodus from Egypt — has been translated more widely, and revised more often, than any other Jewish book. Everywhere Jews have wandered, there have been Haggadot — from the 14th-century Sarajevo Haggadah (which is said to have survived World War II under the floorboards of a mosque, and the siege of Sarajevo in a bank vault), to those made by Ethiopian Jews airlifted to Israel during Operation Moses.

But of the 7,000 known versions, not to mention the countless homemade editions, there is one that is used more than all others combined. Read the rest of this entry »


Passover Haggadot for Sale – Order Now

March 13, 2012

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