THE ABARBANEL HAGGADAH
Passover With Don Isaac
For the first time in centuries, Don Isaac Abarbanel's brilliant interpretive commentary on the Passover Haggadah is readily acccessible to the general Jewish public in the form of a modern English translation and concise abridgement of his Zevach Pesach.
Abridged and translated by Yisrael Isser Avi Herczeg and part of the Artscroll Mesorah Series, the book is available directly from the publisher by calling (718) 921-9000 or writing them at 4401 Second Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11232 USA. The Abarbanel Haggadah is published in both hard and softcover. The book can also be purchased over the internet at Judaism.com or from Artscroll.com.
Don Isaac Abarbanel was a rare human being, indeed. To King Ferdinand and Queens Isabella of fifteenth-century Spain, he was the statesman and finance minister who put their empire's treasury in order. To his Jewish countrymen, he was the leader who worked mightily to protect Jewish lives and interests in that historically hostile country, and who resigned from his privileged governmental status and led 80,000 fellow Jews out of Spain on Tisha B'Av 1492, in the face of the Inquisition. To Jewish history he is one of the premier commentators on the Scriptures and other classic works. (See Abarbanel Family Heritage)
Abarbanel's Zevach Pesach on the Haggadah is written in the style he made uniquely his own. On each paragraph or subject of the Haggadah, he raises many questions, and then answers them with a long discussion that is a model of clarity and comprehensiveness. But as a rule, his commentary is much too long for the average reader. The Abarbanel Haggadah by Artscroll captures the flavor of Don Isaac's commentary. It lists Abarbanel's major questions and presents his answers in abridged form, retaining the flavor and depth, but presenting them in such a way that the reader grasps them easily and well.
Through Artscroll's publication of The Abarbanel Haggadah, Don Isaac's classic explanations will enlighten the Passover Seder for everyone. The Abarbanel Haggadah can be used one as the main Seder Haggadah, or, as a companion to one's favorite Haggadah.
Howard Abarbanel prefers to use a matrix, or melange of Haggadot at the Abarbanel family's sederim with Don Isaac's questions and commentaries inserted throughout the seder at appropriate times, each seder covering different questions so as to cover much of Don Isaac's works during the course of the two nights.
The Abarbanel Haggadah is one of the essential commentaries that clarifies every passage of the Haggadah and lets its illumination filter out to other areas of the Torah and to the lives of its readers, in every country and age.