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Many explanations have been given about why Moses does not appear in the Haggadah, all of them plausible. But, technically, Moses’ name does appear there, fleetingly. When the rabbis recount the miracles, they quote the Torah, which says: "וַיַּֽאֲמִ֙ינוּ֙ בַּֽיהוָ֔ה וּבְמֹשֶׁ֖ה עַבְדּֽוֹ׃ -- The people... believed in the Lord and His servant Moses. [Exodus 14:31]" But he is clearly de-emphasized by being called only “God’s servant”.

My question is: If the intention was to avoid mentioning Moses for a good and specific reason, why not go all the way and not mention him at all? What's the point of spoiling that reason with a fleeting mention?

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    That section is a later addition
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 1:36
  • Reference please. Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 1:53
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    @MauriceMizrahi Both the Mishneh Torah (even in common print editions) and Siddur Rav Saadiah Gaon move straight from "רבי יהודה היה נותן בהם סימן דצ'ך עד'ש באח'ב" to "רבן גמליאל אומר כל שלא אמר שלושה דברים אלו בפסח..." (without going through "רבי יוסי הגלילי אומר..." etc.).
    – Tamir Evan
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 3:12
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    @MauriceMizrahi Also, in at least one Yemenite Haggadah "רבי יוסי הגלילי אומר..." is brought, but the Exodus 14:31 quote there is truncated to "וירא ישראל את־היד הגדלה אשר עשה ה' במצרים", so that Moses isn't mentioned there.
    – Tamir Evan
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 3:28

4 Answers 4

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The reason Moshe Rabeinu isn't mentioned in the Haggada is because we want to attribute all the credit to Hashem, and be perfectly clear that all is from Him and Moshe has no power what so ever. The Seforim teach us that the pasuk וַיַּֽאֲמִ֙ינוּ֙ בַּֽיהוָ֔ה וּבְמֹשֶׁ֖ה עַבְדּֽוֹ, is the highest level of Emunah that Klal Yisro'el reached, that even though Moshe Rabeinu seemed to be the one to do all the miracles, and Hakadosh Boruch Hu is not visible to the naked eye, still Klal Yisroel believed in Him, and believed that Moshe is only His servant and holds no power at all on hs own.

I believe with this understanding all your questions are answered, and we now have gained a clearer understanding of Moshe Rabeinu's role in Yetzias Mitzrayim, and why his name isn't mentioned in The Haggada so often.

Chag Kosher ViSame'ach.

Hatzlacha!

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  • Shalom and welcome to MY. I have a kashe on your point if I may? Why does the entire Torah not worry about this? And if we are worried about making that mistake, the haggadah could have simply told us explicitly it was Hashem, not Moshe, so it still leaves us wanting why it neglected our Rabbi Moshe, which seems indecent and contradictory to the middah of gratitude
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Apr 5, 2023 at 0:20
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maybe we can say that the reason why we mention his name once, is because had his name not have been mentioned at all, we wouldn’t be able to mention G-d’s name either, like the Midrash says (brought down in Akeidas Yitzchok 80:1) that the reason why G-d’s name is not mentioned in the “song of the well” (Bamidbar 21:17), is because Moshe’s name couldn’t be mentioned in it, being that because of the well, he was banned from entering the land of Israel, and the Midrash explains this with a parable, of a minister who made a feast, and did not invite the king’s friend, and the king refused to attend without him.

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I have a more technical answer.

The Gemera in Megillah 22a says, כֹּל פְּסוּקָא דְּלָא פַּסְקֵיהּ מֹשֶׁה אֲנַן לָא פָּסְקִינַן לֵיהּ, “any verse that Moshe did not divide, we may not divide.” Meaning we can’t split pesukim wherever we want. So since in the Haggadah we want to say that we saw Hashem's great hand and since in that pasuk we can’t just stop wherever we want (Shemot 14:31), therefore we continue the pasuk, even though Moshe’s name is mentioned. (And the Haggadah uses this specific pasuk since it felt it represents Hashems greatness in the best way, even if there are other peskuim that say so).

You may ask, we have other half pesukim in the Haggadah! @Ploni here says, "the Tzitz Eliezer (9:17:10) cites the Sfat Emet asks how the Hagadah used on Pesach can cite so many fragments of verses (most famously "avadim hayinu")? The Sfat Emet claims that it is not considered to be breaking a verse if the verse contains the words "le'emor" or "v'amarta" – "and you should say" or "so saying." Since the verse describes something tat one should say, one only has to say that part, and does not have to recite as well the command to say it. The Tzitz Eliezer gives a more technical answer, claiming that when the hagadah cites such verses, it is sure to alter a word or two so as to avoid this problem."

Thank you to @Avraham's comment, I realized I need to mention that there are exceptions for this rule, and one must take each case individually. Here are some of the exceptions.

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  • Isn't that halakhh context-specific? We do divide pesukim all the time. As just a few examples, the blessing of the sons on Friday night is a partial quotation of Genesis 48:20, half of Leviticus 19:32 is often written on buses, and many authors (such as the Ramban and Abarbanel) use partial literary allusions and idioms throughout their writing. I recall seeing some discussion of this issue in שו"ת משפטי עוזיאל בשאלות הזמן סימן כ"ט.
    – Avraham
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 12:35
  • @Avraham, I have edited the answer, thank you Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 13:02
  • Good stuff. That Chabad article you cited is a great resource! I had never seen the "rules" laid out clearly like that.
    – Avraham
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 13:33
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The reason I heard is a chiddush by Rabbi Manis Friedman, which goes very well withh שלום's answer. Moshe didn't want to be mentioned because in it we talk about redemption. Yet that redemption was only fleeting. It didn't take that long before we were in galus, and Moshe said "do me a favour, don't write of me as a redeemer in the haggadah, I don't want jews sitting in ghettos praising me for redeeming them while they are still sitting outside of their land, subjugated by the nations".

He did mention that part of the haggadah, but that's not a contradiction. It's not a statement about redemption. It's just saying that the people believed in Hashem and Moshe His servant. He's described as simply Hashem's servant, Hashem is the main point of that passage. I'll see if I can find a shiur where it is mentioned bli neder. I hope we get to see Moshe's name mentioned in the haggadah very soon!

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