New Book by Rabbi Benjamin Blech Offers Commentary and Insight into Themes of Seder Night
This Pesach, a new book by Rabbi Benjamin Blech, professor of Talmud at Yeshiva University, integrates his unique insight into the traditions and themes of Seder night with the complete text of the haggada.
Titled Redemption, Then and Now: Pesah Haggada (Menorah Books, March 2017), the double-sided edition offers a Hebrew side comprised of the Koren Hagadda and translation, accompanied by Rabbi Blech’s commentary, as well as an English side that includes 23 short essays on the themes of Pesach, the Seder and its various rituals. The commentary and essays are noted for their accessible style, and the author’s great love of gematria and wordplay is featured throughout the work.
“My love affair with the Haggadah began when I was a child of three,” writes Rabbi Blech in the book’s preface. “To this day the Seder reaffirms my commitment, my joy at being a Jew and my ongoing gratefulness for Judaism’s wisdom and teachings which not only ennoble but also sanctify my life.”
He adds, “What is particularly unique about the approach I have taken is the link between the story of old and the miracles of our time, between the promises of the prophets and sages of old and the incredible fulfillment of contemporary events. The result I hope will engender much conversation, discussion, exchange of ideas as well as inspiration.”
Rabbi Blech has taught at YU since 1966, and was the rabbi of Young Israel of Oceanside for 37 years. In addition to his work in the rabbinate, Rabbi Blech has written many books on Judaism and the Jewish people, including The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Judaism. He speaks on Jewish topics to communities around the world.