Haggada

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The Haggada or Aggada (Hebrew haggâdah, from higgîdh"to relate"), in Judaism, is the body of nonlegal rabbinical lore, comprising legends, anecdotes, and parables, which exemplifies the religious and ethical principles of the traditional law compiled in the Talmud and Midrash during the first centuries of the Christian era. The Haggada is a complement to the Halakah, or legal sections of rabbinical literature. The Haggada and Halakah were set down concurrently. Although the Talmud contains numerous Haggadic passages, the great bulk of Haggadic lore was assembled in separate compilations known as Midrashim, that is, homiletic interpretations of the Old Testament. For the most part, the oldest Midrashim reflect Halakah rather than Haggada. The greatest of the Haggadic Midrashim is the Midrash Rabbah, or Great Midrash, a verse-by-verse interpretation of the entire Pentateuch and also of the five scrolls (Esther, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs) that are read on the various Jewish holidays. The Haggada is the primary source of knowledge of the theology of the ancient rabbinic Judaism. The term Haggada denotes also the prayer books used at the Seder, or ritual dinner observed at Passover. This prayer book, besides many Psalms, reproduces extracts from the traditional Haggada chosen for their special relevance to the holiday.

Samuel Sandmel

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The individual articles presented here were generally first published in the early 1980s. This subject presentation was first placed on the Internet in December 1997.

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