In my family's Seder, and in one of the two others I've been to, the reading is done by taking turns going around the table. Mostly it is read in the language of one's preference, but some (myself included) read it in Hebrew and translate the passage into English. I'm wondering what the source is for this round-robin style of reading the Haggadah (if there is a written one), and if it is widely practiced. The other Seder I've been to had the leader of the Seder reading everything all in Hebrew. Is reading by one person generally the norm? Are there other traditions?

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    FWIW my friend says that at his seder everyone goes around and reads each paragraph. (I figure this must take a long time.)
    – Double AA
    Apr 30, 2012 at 20:06
  • @DoubleAA, I was going to ask you a follow-up question, but I realized it fits in the original intent of my question, so I added it above.
    – Seth J
    Apr 30, 2012 at 20:08
  • I mean each person reads each paragraph, so every paragraph is read a bunch of times. (In case that wasn't clear.)
    – Double AA
    Apr 30, 2012 at 20:10
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    @DoubleAA Ugh...
    – Seth J
    Apr 30, 2012 at 20:32
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    No source so not an answer, but at my parents' table everyone reads all of kadesh, magid, halel, and nirtza quietly (some parts aloud) while the leader does so aloud (including "Ma nishtana" after the child reads it solo).
    – msh210
    Apr 30, 2012 at 21:24

3 Answers 3


DailyHalacha.com says that the reciting of the Hagadah is based on ‘VeHigadata LiBincha BaYom HaHu Lemor.’ The Ritvo and the Gr"a had only the head of the household read it.

Rabbi Mansour's custom however, is that all recite the Hagadah together word by word. From time to time they pause the reading, and the Ba’al Habayit or somebody that is fluent in the story, explains it in English or the language that the people around the Seder understand.

He also points out that in order to fulfill the Mitzvah of ‘VeHigadata LiBincha’, the father has to tell the story over to his children.


Well, depends on what you're referring to in Hagadah. The Hagadah has blessings (Kidush, Zmanim, Motzi, Netila, etc..) so those are usually read by the one conducting the Seder. The Hallel, Nishmat Kol Hai and Hallel Ha'Gadol are usually read by that same person as well with the others reading it silently. The rest of the Hagadah is usually read by everyone taking turns on the paragraphs.

My family is orthodox although not ultra-orthodox. I am not sure how it goes in the ultra-orthodox sect.

  • When you say 'usually' do you mean in your family or in orthodox-but-not-ultra-orthodox circles?
    – Double AA
    Apr 30, 2012 at 21:38
  • This was the situation in all the orthodox circles seders I have been to.
    – smichak
    Apr 30, 2012 at 21:45
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    Yeah, I'm not convinced by the use of the word "usually" without some backup. Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Israeli, American, French, what demographic are you including in this observation?
    – Seth J
    Mar 5, 2013 at 1:32

The Rambam (Hilcos Chometz Umatza 8:2) refers to the leader of the seder as הקורא - the reader.

ואחר כך עוקרין את השולחן, מלפני קורא ההגדה לבדו

In fact, the Rambam even has the leader of the seder read the Ma Nishtana:

וכאן הבן שואל ואומר הקורא, מה נשתנה הלילה הזה מכל הלילות וכו

This implies that the leader of the seder reads everything according to the Rambam.

  • It also implies that the RaMBa"M doesn't view the Mah Nishtanah as a set of questions, but answers (or, more precisely, a response).
    – Seth J
    Apr 3, 2014 at 20:11
  • @SethJ The Rambam's understanding of the Mah Nishtana needs more discussion - at first glance it contradicts the Mishna Pesachim 116a. But I'm not sure why it is any less a list of canned questions if the leader reads it than if someone else does - I would say it is more a set of leading questions. Apr 3, 2014 at 20:55

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