I write these words on the eve of Purim. At this time of year I receive, from authors and favorite bookstores, a number of new Haggados shel Pesach. I choose one for special study. There is no doubt that this year my selection will be the Kol Menachem, compiled and adapted by my dear friend Rabbi Chaim Miller with commentary and insights from the works of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, ZT"L.
The layout of the basic Haggadah text is pleasing to the eye, artistically beautiful, and clear, and it contains explanatory notes which are helpful to the beginner Seder leader as well as to the most educated veteran.
But the commentary is the true tour de force of this work. It provides important material in four areas of interest: The text itself, Jewish law, personal growth, and mystical/inspirational themes. In each of these four areas, the editor is able to provide classical sources and comments from the Rebbe which are original, which are startlingly relevant to contemporary life, and which are of practical help to every level of reader.
I was particularly impressed by the material on personal growth, and the discussions of a large number of psychological and educational problems that we all face. For example, the Rebbe discusses the inner tensions that exist within us all; the darker side of the wise son; estranged brothers; shedding our preconceptions; dealing with the negative influences of our environment; and answers the provocative question, "Should Jews be insular?"
If there is a Haggadah for everyman, this is it. I heartily recommend this Haggadah to all who wish to be enlightened by the Rebbe's precious insights, and who wish to promote their own spiritual development and education of their inner selves.
RABBI DR. TZVI HERSH WEINREB, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT EMERITUS OF THE ORTHODOX UNION
This beautiful new Haggadah presents the English reader with both classic explanations and a selection of the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of blessed memory, regarding the Exodus from Egypt, the Haggadah and the Seder rituals. The compiler has skillfully presented these teachings so as to provide illuminating insights that can be brought to the Passover table. Its availability with the Ashkenazic Haggadah text will clearly make it a wonderful selection for a wide cross-section of the Jewish community.
LAWRENCE H. SCHIFFMAN, EDELMAN PROFESSOR OF HEBREW AND JUDAIC STUDIES, CHAIR OF THE SKIRBALL DEPARTMENT OF HEBREW AND JUDAIC STUDIES, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY
The Kol Menachem Haggadah continues in the style of the Gutnick Edition of the Chumash that we have come to so appreciate. The "Classic Questions" section provides immediate access and pithy commentary to fundamental issues raised by the Ba'alei Hagaddah, and the Toras Menachem offers the Rebbe's astute textual analyses and inspiring insights. This Haggadah will take a welcome place at our family seder.
KAREN BACON, DEAN, STERN COLLEGE FOR WOMEN, YESHIVA UNIVERSITY
"Sometimes a person's spiritual greatness is so overpowering that we lose sight of his supreme scholarship and towering intellect. The new Haggadah in the Kol Menachem series allows us to remind ourselves of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's uniqueness as master preacher and commentator, finding new insights in the passages well known to all of us at the Passover Seder rooted in fascinating and novel interpretations of classic texts. To peruse this outstanding collection of a Rabbinic giant of our times fills us with awe at the Rebbe's wisdom in every field of knowledge - and provides us with much new material to share with our families at the holiday meal that calls for discussion and dialogue."
RABBI BENJAMIN BLECH, AUTHOR OF THE COMPLETE IDIOTS GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING JUDAISM
The Gutnick Library of Jewish Classics once again presented a beautiful work with the Kol Menachem Haggadah. The set-up of the contents is very helpful and user-friendly: the Haggadah-text itself, the relevant instructions for the procedures of the Seder, the section of classic questions on the various passages and their answers, and the more elaborate commentary, are expertly separated with clear notation of the sources. In short, this new and attractively printed Haggadah is very handy and useful for everyone, and no doubt will help make the experience of the Seder both enlightening and inspiring. Thank you again for a job well done.
RABBI J. IMMANUEL SCHOCHET (z'l), PROFESSOR-EMERITUS OF PHILOSOPHY, HUMBER COLLEGE, TORONTO
There are many different Haggadot which can make the Seder more meaningful. Yet the Kol Menachem Haggadah is in a class by itself. Put together by Rabbi Chaim Miller, this beautifully produced volume presents for the first time the insights of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, on this central text. The Rebbe's enormous achievements in so many areas of Jewish life had the unintended consequence that many non-Lubavitchers are unaware of the Rebbe's complete mastery and exegetcal brilliance in all areas of Torah knowledge. Rabbi Miller is to be congratulated for helping bring the Rebbe's great insights to the wider Jewish public.
MARC B. SHAPIRO, WEINBERG CHAIR OF JUDAIC STUDIES UNIVERSITY OF SCRANTON
"Beautifully done book with an exquisite cover. The leather look with gold stamp and embossing creates a feature rich presentation that calls, 'pick me up; touch me; read my pages.' Very enticing. Beautifully wrought."
"A remarkable typographic composition in which two languages are presented in an extraordinarily understandable and simple page design format incorporating facing pages that illuminate the translation from the beautifully calligraphic Hebrew to English.
"This publication does an outstanding job of performing its function of explaining the exodus from Egypt and details of the Passover celebration, which is the purpose of the Haggadah...
"A remarkably well designed and executed modern graphic representation approaching the lovingly hand crafted and illuminated manuscripts of old.
"A very beautiful, very precise book."
OFFICIAL JUDGES, IBPA BENJAMIN FRANKLIN AWARDS 2009
Many thanks for the beautiful Haggadah "Kol Menachem" which you so kindly sent me. From all the Haggados that I have set my eyes upon I have never seen something like this. In terms of content, it includes a fabulous selection from the great Jewish sages, and each reader will find something of personal relevance. Everyone who sees it will be impressed. The centerpiece contains the commentary and thoughts of the Ga'on of our generation, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Rebbe of Lubavitch ZT"L, whose influence has spread across the full spectrum of Jewish life, from the very closest of Jews to the most distant, "to call them all in the name of G-d, to serve Him in unity."
It is not only the soul of this Haggadah that is exceptional, that is to say, the Torah illumination within it, but also its external appearance. The luxurious binding, the clear, beautiful typography, draw and rouse the reader, "Arise, read me, and you will find satisfaction."
It is a great privilege for you to have published this Haggadah for the Jewish people to enjoy and delight in, and to bring nachas to the Rebbe ZT"L, and, most importantly, to the Creator, blessed be His Name. May you likewise merit to publish more sefarim, and to illuminate the world with Torah and Chassidus...
HARAV MOSHE WOLFSON, MASHGIACH RUCHANI, YESHIVAH TORAH V'DAAS, RAV OF BEIS MIDRASH EMUNAS YISROEL
The new Haggadah, with comments by Rabbi Chaim Miller, is an excellent addition to the various Haggadot that have brought a variety of valuable insights into the traditional text. The current edition specializes in the insights of the late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe ZT"L. Many have heard of the late Rebbe and his proactive outreach to the entire Jewish community, but unfortunately not enough have taken advantage of the publications of his various commentaries and insights to sharpen their own minds and expand their own hearts. This Haggadah is an especially good introduction to the treasury of his creativity. The citations... enhance the age-old narrative of slavery and freedom, oppression and joy -- a gateway to the world of Hasidism, especially on the tradition of Lubavitch.
RABBI NORMAN LAMM, CHANCELLOR, YESHIVAH UNIVERSITY
With the Slager Haggadah on the table, no Seder can ever fade into a mere annual replay of fond phrases and familiar customs. Like Jacob's ladder, this Haggadah has its feet on the ground, while its head soars above the clouds. Combining serious chassidic scholarship with userfriendly accessibility, Rabbi Chaim Miller guides every reader through all the practical details, but at the same time shows him how to fly out of his homemade cage - his personal Egypt of mediocre goals, mental boredom and spiritual fatigue. No personal Exodus could be more exhilarating!
URI KAPLOUN, TRANSLATOR OF NUMEROUS CHASIDIC TEXTS
Beautifully written and designed... [an] impressive work of erudition....
In clear, modern language Miller has presented a new translation of the Haggada that is simple yet manages to clarify the text and at the same to convey the feeling for the original Hebrew. Even a veteran of Pessah Seders intimately familiar with the Hebrew text comes away with a deeper understanding of the Haggada....
Dozens of different rabbis, including anti-hassidic Lithuanian leaders such as Eliahu ben Shlomo of Vilna (the Vilna Gaon) are quoted.... Schneersohn’s explanations are presented in a down-to-earth way.
THE JERUSALEM POST
With great elegance, Rabbi Miller presents a dual commentary below the standard Haggadah text. In one section entitled Classic Questions, the reader will find, as he will in all books within the Kol Menachem series, thoughts and comments of over one hundred rabbinic scholars who lived throughout the ages.
The novel section of the work is most certainly the Toras Menachem section found at the bottom of every page. In this skillfully edited portion... Rabbi Miller takes advantage of including an array of the Rebbe's teachings in lamdus, mysticism, halakhah, and of course, p’shat....
[An] important and monumental Haggadah worthy to be used at any seder table
YESHIVA UNIVERSITY COMMENTATOR