passover seder plate close-up

Passover and What You Should Read This Year

passover seder plate close-upPassover is approaching. Maybe you’ve experience this before: you know the holiday is coming, you think you should do something to learn more about it, but the whole thing passes by in a flash and you have yet another year where you don’t take the time to improve your understanding and connect with God deeply through the Passover.

Well, not this year, Musings Readers. Let’s take three simple steps and make Passover memorable this year:

Step 1: Buy the Jonathan Sacks Haggada for this Passover

We have this thing going here on Messianic Jewish Musings called J-BOM (Jewish Book of the Month). I’m making the Sacks Haggada a two-month selection: March and April.

Why did I pick this haggadah? It is simply one of the best books on Judaism I have ever read.

Even if you don’t take an active interest in the Passover Haggadah (learning the history and meaning of this unusual book of Jewish ritual), the Sacks Haggada is still for you. Over half of the book consists of essays about Passover, Israel, God, and issues that face human beings in our modern world.

Here is the link on amazon:

Step 2: Read the Jonathan Sacks Haggada

jonathan sacks haggada for passoverWhat can I say about the Sacks Haggada? I can tell you that if you open it on the English-facing side (if you’ve ever owned a bilingual Hebrew-English book you know what I mean) it is a series of essays. They take up over half of the book. They read like well-written sermons and they leave you feeling inspired and illuminated. If you open it on the Hebrew-facing side, it is the complete text of the traditional haggadah with Rabbi Sacks’s commentary. Priceless. You will understand things about the Passover haggadah you never knew.

Let me mention a few essay titles to whet your interest:

  • The Story of Stories
  • A Tale of Two Civilizations
  • Pesah, Freud, and Jewish Identity
  • Building a Society of Freedom
  • History and Memory
  • The Sages in Bnei Brak
  • Women and the Exodus
  • The Missing Fifth
  • Ben Zoma and the Sages
  • The First Pesah

There are many more.

Step 3: Comment About the Jonathan Sacks Haggada

Comment here and in other posts on Messianic Jewish Musings about The Jonathan Sacks Haggada. You could post and just say, “Order it. Can’t wait!” Or once you get the book, write a short review of an essay (doesn’t have to be academic, just say what you learned or what it meant to you).

There is fun in participating with others.

Personal Note

So, you may have noticed my blogging frequency is down. Yes. It’s true. I recently started a third job. I’m sad I can’t post more here. But even if I’m not here as much as before, I’m here. I don’t plan to stop. I’ll just do what I can. I want to post more on Rereading Paul. But I will give priority to J-BOM for the next 6 weeks and some Passover articles. I do appreciate you stopping by. And I hope this season of being so busy doesn’t last too long. I want to write more and plan to do so as soon as I can.


  1. Got the book and started to read from the very beginning. This is definitely going to be enlightening. The “connectedness” of the Jewish people at this time as a result of the dispersion into all nations is something I want to explore more. Thanks for suggesting this book.

  2. I´ll order the book. I find Rabbi Sacks commentaries always interesting and inspiring.
    I long to celebrate this Passover together with Jewish believers, perhaps, if I find enough interested people, I plan to invite someone in my community. Tomorrow we meet for a small bible group in our house, I will ask my pastor. I want to ask him if he´d like to invite a messianic Jew as guest speaker, I have a bit contact. It´s difficult, we are only a few people and Israel seems not so much a big theme right now. Perhaps some of you can pray for me, that I might be able to awake interest and say a bit about the importance of Israel (or give a book, I am not a good speaker)?
    Derek, I pray for your jobs, may God give you strength and still rest in Him to enjoy His word and presence.

  3. Thanks all for the comments so far. Glad to see people reading Rabbi Sacks this year. Hope a lot more come and comment and join us for a great two-month edition of J-BOM!

  4. I ordered the book today. I hadn’t yet; I was hesitant due to finances and lack of a place to put more books.(Three years ago I had to give away my library save a handful of selections I could not part with.) Your recommendation of *this* book as important has made my decision. I look forward to reading it with great expectation.

    1. I’m finally sitting down for longer periods to read the essays and haggadah. I have to say I’m thoroughly enjoying them!
      The essays are intriguing and introduce concepts in a way I’d not previously considered, providing considerable new material on which to ponder.

      I didn’t expect to learn anything from the haggadah section. Not that I knew it all, but after all, I’ve been rehearsing the Seder for more than a decade. This was a mistake and a woefully sorry attitude!

      My problem? Even though I did research Passover from Jewish sources, as a Messianic gentile I have always implemented the Seder from Messianic resources. The notes in this haggadah explain the details and nuances of meaning for Seder practices that I’d previously had no access to from Messianic resources or information found “judaism 101” type websites.

      I am finding the Jonathan Sacks Haggadah invaluable in my Pesach preparations this year. Thank you, Derek, for the recommendation!

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