A popular song sung at the seder is Adir Hu. The song contains many phrases of the pattern:

[Adjective] is He.

that are grouped together alphabetically with a refrain asking for the speedy building of the Third Temple.

The five stanzas of the song contain adjectives that start with the letters א, ב-ד, ה-ח, ט-צ, ק-ת repectively. That's 1, 3, 4, 10, 4 adjectives per stanza. Why is it broken up in this way? Wouldn't it make more sense to do 5, 5, 5, 5, 2 or 4, 5, 4, 5, 4?

  • 3
    Note that the way it's broken up varies from hagada to hagada.
    – msh210
    Mar 27, 2012 at 22:54
  • Re "Wouldn't it make more sense to...", note that many piyutim use a 4-4-4-4-4-4 structure, with the last stanza repeating kuf and resh or shin and tav. One might have expected the same here.
    – msh210
    Mar 27, 2012 at 22:55
  • @msh210 All good points, as usual.
    – Double AA
    Mar 27, 2012 at 23:07
  • 3
    If it didn't increase in number, then the "recite the entire stanza in one breath" challenge wouldn't be very difficult or interesting at all.
    – Seth J
    Mar 5, 2013 at 2:01
  • 1
    I've wondered something similar about "Ashamnu, Bagdnu ..."
    – Isaac Moses
    Mar 13, 2013 at 6:00

1 Answer 1


I don't think that there is something behind this division. Many songs are divided to 1 ,3,3,3... or 4,4,4,4..,2 to make the whole 22 letters This verse, each line is standing on its own (Just like Hallel Hagadol or Haderet and Hammuna) and probably grouped together at some time when the Hagaddah was first printed. In order to make sure there is a need to check some manuscripts and find out how it was written there


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