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Haggadah
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Haggadah

The Haggadah (הגדה) is a Hebrew language text used at the Passover service containing the Seder. The basic elements of the Haggadah are ancient; they were already deliniated at the time of the Mishnah over two thousand years ago.

The content of a Haggadah is the scripture that tells the story of the Israelites and their mass-exit or Exodus from slavery in Egypt.

Different groups within Judaism are more and less liberal about the format and content of the Haggadah. Conservative Judaism might use Haggadahs that are only written in the Hebrew language and conforms tightly to an early text. Reform Judaism generally finds it perferable to use a Haggadah that has either a Hebrew with a local language translation (such as English), or a local language-only translation so all participants (especially children who might not speak Hebrew) clearly understand everything.

Haggadah books all have a very similar story to tell, they all use the same characters and the same chain of events. They all are all based on the events of the Exodus as described in the the Book of Exodus with a religious context, and include words (and sometimes even music) for religious prayer-songs. However, they may explain things in slightly different ways and have different translations for words.

Some Haggadahs are beatifully illustrated. One famous example is the Kafra Haggadah, which has a medieval appearance like an illuminated manuscript but was created by a mother and son of the Kafra family to pass the time while hiding from the Nazis.

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