Somebody asked at my seder this year why Moshe is largely absent from the magid. I have heard that the reason is because we're supposed to focus on God, and also that Moshe was very humble and there might be a midrash about him asking not to be in it. But I can't source any of that. Are those the reasons? If not, what is? And either way, what's the source?

  • possible duplicate of Who dropped Moses from the Hagaddah? Mar 29 '13 at 3:23
  • @ShmuelBrin, I saw that, but it seems to be based on a shaky premise (speculation about the second year in the wilderness), so I don't know how much help it will be. Mar 29 '13 at 3:30
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    @ShmuelBrin Not a duplicate IMO, that question assumed a reason why, and asked who it was that dropped Moshe, whereas this question is why he is not mentioned.
    – Michoel
    Mar 29 '13 at 4:01
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    Moshe Rabbeinu was the Epitome of the servant of Hashem ,the purpose of the haggadah is solely to give thanks and praise Hashem for all that he did fir us and does fir us,we don't want anyone to get the impression that Moshe Rabbeinu redeemed us,not even that ,Moshe Rabbeinu himself would also never want anyone to get that impression.
    – sam
    Apr 13 '14 at 16:31
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    I never understood this claim. In almost every paragraph, don't we say keMoshe neemar? Apr 20 '14 at 10:52

The sefer "HaSeder HaAruch" (vol. 2 chapter 129) brings several answers to this question:

  1. Moshe did not accomplish the desired goal of the Exodus from Egypt. The actual redemption was only brought about through the plague of Death of the Firstborn, which was executed by Hashem Himself, and not through Moshe, as we say in the Haggadah "I, and not the messenger". We therefore do not mention Moshe's role in the Haggadah, to teach us that everything was done by Hashem, and Moshe merely a servant fulfilling the will of his Master (The Gr"a).

  2. Our Sages foresaw that there would arise future generations that would be lacking a leader to intercede on behalf of them. In order to prevent this from causing despair, it is fitting to remember at such times that also in Egypt the redemption did not come about via an angel or Divine messenger, and even Moshe was not with them at the time which they called out and Hashem heard their cries. It was Hashem Himself Who redeemed them then, and He will likewise redeem us in the near future (Hagr"i Mikloyzenberg).

  3. Moshe in his humility did not want his name to be mentioned, and Hashem did his bidding (The Chofetz Chaim).

  4. The night of Pesach corresponds to the level of "Issarusa De'leayla" (an arousal from Above), as the Jews were redeemed despite being entrenched in the lowest levels of impurity. As Moshe represents the level of "Issarusa Delesata" (a revelation that comes about only through prior effort) his name is not mentioned (Maharam Mibulgurya).

  5. Moshe did not want to accept the task of taking the Jews out of Egypt. It is possible that for this reason we do not mention his name when telling over the story of the Exodus, since it 'came out the mouth' of Moshe (see Pesachim 114b).

  • All those clearly contradict the very intent of the Torah - the Exodus was impossible without Moses - אם אין אתה גואלן אין אחר גואלן. While very good Tirutzim, it does not sound as the reason for me. Also that contradicts the 7th Rambam's principle.
    – Al Berko
    Apr 21 '19 at 13:29
  1. http://ohr.edu/ask_db/ask_main.php/147/Q2/
  2. The Vilna Gaon says that from the fact that the Haggadah stops at the verse in Yehoshua that mentions Moshe, we know that the compiler of the Haggadah specifically did not mention Moshe, because if he mentioned him once he would have to keep on mentioning him all over. The story would then revolve around Moshe; people will think that Moshe did all these things by himself, and they will not realize that it was all Yad Hashem that really saved them. Even if the Haggadah would have only mentioned Moshe a little, people would still have thought that Moshe was a partner with G-d. Therefore, the only time that is does mention Moshe is where it says, "they had faith in Hashem and in Moshe, His servant," emphasizing that everything that happened was from Hashem and that Moshe was only His servant.

(Note: This answer, or some form of it, is the classic one, that Moshe was so humble that he omitted his name. The Ohr.edu answer is just an interesting variation.)


Bar Ilan University's parsha site had a discussion on this several years ago. There, someone wrote that the Samaritans in particular considered Moshe a demi-god and only accepted the first five books of the Torah as authentic.

As part of Chazal's post-Churban attempts to establish and maintain a set of core beliefs, Moshe is only incidentally mentioned in the haggadah (because we tend to cite complete verses). Other than that, the focus is on haShem.

There is also substantial scholarly literature on the polemics inherent in the haggadah. For example, where Rabban Gamliel indicates that we are to explain the three symbols of Pesach very specifically, it has been proposed that he was remonstrating against another community that had a very different view as to the meaning of the paschal lamb and the matza (and so too, perhaps, marror).

  • Why the downvotes?
    – Double AA
    Apr 23 '14 at 3:51
  • @DoubleAA, the last paragraph has nothing to do with the question, and the middle paragraph seems wildly unlikely - they made such a decision for something said once or twice a year, but had no problem including Moshe in Birchas Krias Shemah said every day.
    – Yishai
    May 15 '14 at 2:34
  • @Yishai The haggada is much more of a statement of belief/identity than birkos krias shema. Consider how many Jews read the former than the latter. The last paragraph indeed adds support to exactly your question on the second paragraph.
    – Double AA
    May 15 '14 at 2:36
  • @DoubleAA, I'm skeptical (to put it mildly) Chazal established the Nusach on such an assumption, or that at that time, the Nusach was even that well defined. Vague claims of polemics in one section (that on its own terms only claims evidence for two of three points) doesn't address something that wasn't even necessarily written at the same time. Another section that specifically sought to downplay the claim that the only authentic text was 5 books would be one thing, but in fact the Haggada quotes almost nothing else.
    – Yishai
    May 15 '14 at 3:38
  • @Yishai It quotes Yoel, Yehoshua, Divrei Hayamim, Yechezkel and Tehillim off the top of my head.
    – Double AA
    May 15 '14 at 5:04

Rabbi Norman Lamm gave over the following in a sermon in 1970

The question itself is one that Rabbi Soloveitchik relates to a Midrashic comment on the verse from the Song of Songs (3:1): "By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth; I sought him but I found him not. The Midrash (Shi. R. 3:2) identifies this lost beloved as Moses, Rabbi Soloveitchik interprets the reference of the Midrash as a complaint over the absence of Moses from the Passover Haggadah.

מדרש רבה שיר השירים ג:ב

דבר אחר: על משכבי בלילות זה לילה של מצרים בקשתיו את שאהבה נפשי זה משה. בקשתיו ולא מצאתיו:

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