Shavuot, the end of a “seven times seven” days countdown, is finally here, and it brings you this Haggadah.
Shavuot’s main tradition is the Tikkun Leil Shavuot. On Shavuot’s night, people around the world will gather for an allnight of study. You can use this Haggadah as a work-through guide for your own Tikkun.
Shavuot also closes the first big cycle of Jewish Holidays, starting in Pesach (some call it Purim), to Lag B’Omer all the way down to this date. In modern times, a smaller but not less important cycle of Jewish-National Holidays and Remembrance Days (Yom HaShoah, Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut) finds itself comprised by the traditional one.
And as the Pesach-Shavuot cycle symbolizes the birth of the Jewish People (Pesach) and its way towards maturity (Shavuot), the Yom HaShoah-Yom HaAtzmaut one symbolizes the transition from national doom to national redemption. From birth to maturity. From doom to redemption. From potential to realization: a long way towards Hagshama.
So, why a Shavuot Haggadah? (After all, we already have a Shavuot Megillah.) Because the Haggadah, as a resource, works. We know this from Pesach, from Tu Bishvat, and more recently, from Yom Ha-Atzmaut (Independence Day). It’s an excellent opportunity for friends and family to sit around a festive table and to read a festive text, while discussing our history as a people (and this is the last opportunity the Jewish calendar will give us to do so for a long time).
This Haggadah is built around Ruth’s story. The story of a remarkable woman, who made incredible decisions. A woman who carved her own path from birth to maturity, choosing to renounce her destiny as an individual, in order to fulfil herself as part of the Jewish people.
But reading the Haggadah is not only about understanding the story on the literal level. The Haggadah serves as a guide, stimulating both reflection about the text itself and our common past. The Haggadah is also an educational tool – through it we understand the text, we make it ours, in the same way that Ruth made the “Jewish text” her own text.
Hagshama is the Hebrew word for realization. The word we use when we see the abstract become concrete. The word we use when we feel we achieved our goals. Ruth’s path was a path towards Hagshama.
So, on this night, make Ruth’s story your own. Walk her path. Fulfil yourself. We hope this Haggadah will help you do that.