Guess what? The Maxwell House Haggadah is being reissued this year, and it’s new and improved…but let’s face it, probably still solidly mediocre.
If you’re looking to add something new to your Haggadah collection this year, I recommend the brand new JPS haggadah, Go Forth and Learn: A Passover Haggadah written by Rabbi David Silver with Rachel Furst.
There’s two parts to this Haggadah–the traditional Haggadah text with commentary, and then a section of essays and longer commentaries on the Exodus story. The regular Haggadah part is good, but I didn’t find it as fun and interesting as the longer commentaries. One of my pet peeves about Passover is that we all make a big deal about how we’re going to tell the story of the Exodus, and then we end up talking about staying up all night, and the korban pesach and I just want to poke my eyes out with the shank bone. Where is the actual story of living in Egypt and then leaving? It’s here in Rabbi Silber’s book. He devotes a large chunk of the text to the stories that lead to the Jews ending up in Egypt, including Abraham and Hagar (usually not big players in Pesach celebrations) and an equally large chunk to meditations on what the Exodus meant for a people. I also really enjoyed the chapter that examined the creation themes in the ten plagues.
I don’t think I’d buy this Haggadah to give to everyone at my seder, but it’s a nice one to have as an added resource at the seder, with lots of interesting tidbits to add to the discussion.
And I say all this as someone who really hates Pesach and (usually) seders.