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  • A Mystical Haggadah
  • Written by Eliahu Klein
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9781556436499
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A Mystical Haggadah

Passover Meditations, Teachings, and Tales

Written by Eliahu KleinAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Eliahu Klein

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Synopsis|Excerpt|Table of Contents


In a generation that has seen an explosion in popularity of books about mystical and meditative traditions, very little has been published about the rich and fascinating mystical traditions of the Jewish holy days. Passover, the first religious holiday of the Jewish people, particularly rewards a re-viewing from a mystical perspective. A Mystical Haggadah takes readers through the Passover ritual with Kabbalistic meditations and affirmations in a friendly, accessible format. This Haggadah also includes many Hassidic teachings and stories that have never been presented to the English reading audience. The book is especially valuable for its transliterations of all the major prayers and rituals, and is refreshing in its creative and spiritually-based adaptation and translation of the primary Haggadah text.

A Mystical Haggadah is for all spiritual seekers who wish to explore this root tradition of Judaism as a ritual of cosmic importance. The book is also for Jewish seekers of all denominations who wish to explore the mystical, meditative, and empowering aspects of Jewish traditions as seen through the rich and meaningful Passover eve Seder ritual.


From the Introduction: What is contained in this Haggadah?

In this Haggadah I have decided to mix both worlds that are precious to me—the passionate heart traditions of Hassidism and the possibility of achieving cosmic consciousness through Kabbalah meditation and visualization. Thus, at the beginning of the Haggadah I share a Hassidic legend of how an impoverished Hassidic master, with the power of his faith and convictions, was able to manifest a miracle. When the Haggadah continues with the initiation of the Seder—Kadesh, the blessing of the wine—I begin to share and present a mystical commentary and meditation used by the Kabbalists to expand one’s mind and heart so that one enters into sacred space. Throughout the Haggadah I alternate between the Hassidic heart commentaries based on traditions from Eastern Europe such as the rebbehs of the Ishbizter-Radzin dynasty, the Tchernobel-Trisk dynasty, the Rizhiner-Husyatin dynasty; and the primary teachings of the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Hassidism, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, and other masters of the heart.

Preceding most of the rituals, I offer a mystical meditation or a contemplative prayer from the following mystics: Rabbi Yosef Hayim of Baghdad—the Ben Ish Hai; Rabbi Isaac Luria; Rabbi Haim Vital-Calabrese; Rabbi Moses de Leon, the celebrated publisher of the Zohar; Rabbi Sar Shalom Sharabi, the ecstatic Kabbalah mandala master; and reflections from the Zohar and mystical teachings from Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz, the author of the acclaimed “SHALAH” (the acronym for Shnei Lukhot Habrit—The Two Tablets of the Covenant).

The purpose of this montage of Haggadah traditions is to transmit a full spectrum of illumination that is embedded within these teachings; to show that it is worthwhile for seekers and practitioners to explore many traditions, and to extract those aspects that resonate with their souls so they may experience the maximum spiritual experience during this sacred holiday of Passover...

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Autobiographical Reflections 1
What Is Contained in This Haggadah? 6
2. The Ritual of Hunting for Khametz 8
The Search for Khametz 8
Burning the Khametz Ritual 11
3. The Ritual of Eruv Tavshilin 13
4. Blessing of the Candles 15
5. The Passover Seder: Fifteen Steps toward Illumination 17
Prelude to the Seder: A Hassidic Tale of Faith, Devotion, and Courage 17

Step 1: Kadesh: Blessing of the First Cup 25
Step 2: Urkhatz: First Washing of the Hands 40
Step 3: Karpas: First Dipping of a Vegetable 42
Step 4: Yakhatz: Breaking the Middle Matzah—Hiding the Afikomen 45
Step 5: Magid: Telling the Exodus Story 48
The Four Questions: Mah Nishtanah 53
Step 6: Rakhtzah: Second Washing of the Hands 99
Steps 7—8: Motzi-Matzah: Blessing on the Matzah 101
Step 9: Maror: Eating Bitter Herbs 103
Step 10: Koraikh: The Ancient Matzah Sandwich 105
Step 11: Shulkhan Orekh: The Banquet 106
Step 12: Tzafune: Eating the Afikomen 108
Step 13: Baraich: After Blessing at Conclusion of Banquet 109
Step 14: Hallel: Songs of Praise 125
Step 15: Nirtzah: Concluding Prayers and Songs of Goodwill 146

Bibliography: Annotated List of Sources 173
Glossary 179
About the Author 189


“Steeped in the tradition of Kabbalah, the mystic branch of Judaism, Klein’s book sheds new light on old traditions and adds a contemplative aspect to often numbingly familiar stories; it’s sure to provide, if not enlightenment, then at the very least a little novelty at the traditional meal.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“Rabbi Klein brings us deeper into the ways of tikkun according to Kabbalah and Hasidism, than any other Haggadah in English. One of the great strengths of this Haggadah is that it reflects Rabbi Klein’s personal experience. He is particularly adept at weaving more abstract kabbalistic commentaries with stories and personal advice from Hasidic rebbes. A Mystical Haggadah can help teach us how to pray with activist feet, or at least rehearse the steps on Passover night.”
—Kennard Lipman, Tikkun magazine

“Rabbi Klein has penned a fascinating Haggadah according to the mystical traditions of Kabbalah and Hassidic masters…This is a deep and satisfying book that invites the reader to dive deeply into the Spirit behind the Seder.”
—Pan Spence, The Ohio Jewish Chronicle

“Chassidic tales, gematria, kabbalistic meditations and the traditional Haggadah text combine in A Mystical Haggadah…There’s a homey feel, it’s refreshing, and there are several items in it that you may wish to incorporate into your celebration.”
—Cynthia Ramsay, Jewish Independent

“This is a complex haggadah that stops at nearly every point in the telling of the Passover story to discuss the meaning and greater mystical significance of every action undertaken during the seder, as well as including the occasional story with lessons and miracles of harder, but more pious times…for those looking for inner meaning, they may well find it in this text.”
—Joel Magalnick, JTNews

“This elegant haggadah is filled with wondrous commentaries—many outside the realm of standard interpretations and comments—by a variety of kabalistic and Chassidic teachers.”
—Stephen S. Pearce, J Weekly

“[A Mystical Haggadah] stops at nearly every point in the telling of the Passover story to discuss the meaning and greater mystical significance of every action undertaken during the seder, as well as including the occasional story with lessons and miracles of harder, but more pious times.

“Rabbi Klein borrows from Chassidic masters and features descriptions of his own experiences, providing meditations every step of the way while he blesses God and the shechinah....

“...[T]hose looking for inner meaning may well find it in this text.”
—Diana Brement, JTNews

"A Mystical Haggadah: Passover Meditations, Teachings and Tales by Eliahu Klein incorporates the Kabbalah teachings into the 15-step seder ritual."
—Publishers Weekly

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