Popular Articles

Chad Gadya first appeared in a Haggadah printed in Prague in 1590

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

An embroidered goat taken from the raw-frames version (not finished form) of the Chad Gadya embroidered animation short. (Image: https://archive.org/details/ChadGadyaRawFrames4K.jpeg)

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

We sing them very year, but do we ever wonder: where did the Passover songs originate? Here are some insights into these Seder traditions.

Chad Gadya

Chad Gadya or “one little goat” is a playful cumulative song in Aramaic and Hebrew, sung at the end of the Passover seder.

According to Wikipedia, the melody may have its roots in Medieval German folk music. It first appeared in a Haggadah printed in Prague in 1590, which makes it the most recent inclusion in the traditional Passover seder liturgy.

The Haggadah was a project that was initiated by the Anshei Knesset Hagedola, the members of the “Great Assembly” – the supreme council of sages that ruled during Temple times in Jerusalem. They were the first to compile and canonize many of the texts that we have today. The Haggadah, however, was only started during that era but it was not completed until much later.

Chad Gadya only found its way into the Haggadah at a much later time. This is because Chad Gadya was written in Aramaic (not in Hebrew!), which was the vernacular of the Jews ofBabylon. The slaughterer, the Angel of death and the Holy one, blessed be he are in Hebrew.

Previous
Next

Some suggest that Chad Gadya was written by Rabbi Eliezer Rokeach (12th century).According to some modern Jewish commentators, the song may be symbolic. One interpretation is thatChad Gadya is about the different nations that have conquered the Land of Israel: The kid symbolizes the Jewish people, the cat, Assyria; the dog, Babylon; the stick, Persia; the fire, Macedonia; the water, Roman Empire; the ox, the Saracens; the slaughterer, the Crusaders; the angel of death, the Turks.
At the end, God returns to send the Jews back to Israel. The recurring refrain of two zuzim is a reference to the two stone tablets given to Moses on Mount Sinai (or refer to Moses and Aaron).
Versions of the song exist in Ladino (Un cavritico), Judaeo-Italian and Judaeo-Arabic.

Avadim Hayinu

We know that the Avadim Hayinu (“We Were Slaves”) section was written by Rabbi Eliezer Hagadol (2nd Century). It is an introduction to the formal narration of the exodus from Egypt, based on the views of Samuel (Pes. 116a). Passages of unknown origin supplement the narration stressing its importance.

Echad Mi Yodea

Echad Mi Yodea is another cumulative riddle with versions in Hebrew and Yiddish. According to the Encyclopaedia Judaica, this song is first found in Ashkenazi Haggadot of the 16th century. It is believed to have originated in Germany in the 15th century, possibly based on a German folk song Guter freund ich frage dich, which means “Good friend, I ask you”.
The song relates the 13 basics of Judaism. After relating G-d’s wonders and kindness, and the events of the Exodus, the song demonstrates how everything can and should relate to G-d.

Get thej.ca a Pro Israel Voice by Email. Never miss a top story that effects you, your family & your community

Dayenu

“Dayenu” is a Hebrew song, traditionally sung during the celebration of Passover. The word itself essentially means “It would have been enough for us.” Day is the Hebrew word for “enough” and the suffix enu means “our”.
This traditional up-beat Passover song is over one thousand years old. The earliest full text of the song occurs in the first medieval haggadah, which is part of the ninth-century Seder Rav Amram. The song goes through a series of gifts believed granted by G-d to the Israelites (such as Torah or Shabbat), proclaiming that any of them alone would have been sufficient, to express greater appreciation for them as a whole. It is 15 verses long, sequentially recounting each divine intervention in the story of the Exodus.
After each divine act, the chorus “(if G-d had done only this) it would have been enough for us” is sung.

Adir Hu

Adir Hu (Mighty is He) is a hymn naming the virtues of G-d in order of the Hebrew alphabet, expressing hope that G-d will rebuild the Holy Temple speedily.

The tune of Adir Hu tune has undergone several variations over the years, but the origin is from the German minnesinger period. The earliest extant music for Adir Hu is from the 1644 Rittangel Hagada; the second form was in the 1677 Hagada Zevach Pesach;and the third and closest form can be found in the 1769 Selig Hagada. In the 1769 Hagada, the song was also known in German as the Baugesang (the song of the rebuilding of the Temple).
There are 24 short simple lines, each beginning with an attribute of G-d. Most of the virtues of G-d are adjectives (for instance, Holy (Kadosh) is he); however, a few are nouns (for instance, Lord is he). The traditional melody is a bouncy, major one. Other melodies, however, have been composed for the alphabetical song.

Sybil Kaplan is a journalist, lecturer, food writer and author (Witness to History: Ten Years as a Woman Journalist in Israel), nine cookbooks (including What’s Cooking at Hadassah College.) She lived in Israel from 1970-1980; she and her late husband, Barry, came to live in Jerusalem in 2008, where she works as a foreign correspondent for North American Jewish publications, lectures to senior citizen residences, walks in English in Machaneh Yehudah, the Jewish produce market. She has been book reviewing for 40 years. 

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Previous
Next

Read More

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

cOMING SOON…….

Breaking News

Recent

Features

News

Current Events

Opinions

Politics

Religion

Culture

Memoriam and Obituaries

PodcastS

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved