Sunday, April 17, 2011

On a Karaite Haggadah

Here's a Karaite Haggadah printed in Egypt 1903. (The entry in demurely calls it סדר הגדה של חג הפסח כפי מנהג הישראלים, whereas you can plainly see that it is "מנהג ישראלים הקראים.")

There are several interesting aspects about it, including its brevity (only 14 pages including the title page and a page of copyright warning in Hebrew and Arabic). Naturally it consists mainly of relevant biblical passages, including much of what we Rabbanites call Hallel. Interestingly there are a few berachot (blessings) which are very similar in form and content to rabbinical blessings. For example, there is a berachas shehechiyanu (pg. 11) which differs only by the insertion of the word בשלום.

There is a cup of wine, to be held while reciting some ki le-olam chasdos. The בורי פרי הגפן is vocalized with a qomatz, thus showing that the Karaites agree with the grammarians (and most present-day Ashkenazim). Famously the Chacham Tzvi is reputed to have mocked people who said "borei peri ha-gafen," which I think predominates today.

Chacham Tzvi's attitude is quoted by his son in לוח ארש pg. 67a:

There is a combined beracha for matza and marror, and an interesting beracha of "hamotzi lechem ani min ha'aretz."

There's also a form of Kiddush to make - if Pesach falls on Shabbos.


  1. We would also make a combined berachah for matzah and marror, without the rabbinic drash that maror is obligatory when brought with the korban pesach. According to the rambam, when we bring a korban pesach, we would recite almost exactly the same berachah.

  2. It's available on Youtube, too. I'm serious.

  3. So they agree with Gr"a that Matzoh is a Mitzva all seven days.

  4. לענ"ד the Gra's position is peshuto shel mikra. Nice catch.

  5. But it is not sure if the Gr"a actually recited a Bracha on matzo all seven days.

    SeeSdie Chemed Mareches Chumetz Imatzah at length

  6. Mr. Fred, may I suggest you transcribe the Hebrew correctly even according to the Ashlenazi pronunciation if it is your choice? The term is "lehem `oni", and the last 3 words of the berakha "borei peri ha-gafen" are בורא פרי הגפן



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