The Kol Menachem Haggadah

In clear, modern language Miller has presented a new translation of the Haggada that is simple.

Messianic message The Kol Menachem Haggadah By Chaim Miller Kol Menachem 272 pages; $25.99 Rabbi Chaim Miller's beautifully written and designed Haggada is "dedicated to strengthening the connection with our master, teacher and rabbi, the leader of the generation," Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn. But the fact that Miller or the publishers of The Kol Menachem Haggadah may or may not believe a great spiritual leader who has been dead for 14 years is the messiah or that the disseminating of Schneersohn's teachings hastens the messianic era should not be allowed to get in the way of enjoying this impressive work of erudition. In clear, modern language Miller has presented a new translation of the Haggada that is simple yet manages to clarify the text and at the same to convey the feeling for the original Hebrew. Even a veteran of Pessah Seders intimately familiar with the Hebrew text comes away with a deeper understanding of the Haggada. However, Miller's main scholarly efforts have been dedicated to a two-pronged gloss of the Haggada. "Classic questions" provides explanations to the main text in a question-and-answer form. Dozens of different rabbis, including anti-hassidic Lithuanian leaders such as Eliahu ben Shlomo of Vilna (the Vilna Gaon) are quoted. There is even a bibliography at the back of the book complete with the rabbis' full names and their dates of birth and death. In contrast, "Toras Menachem" is what makes the Haggada a specifically Chabad-inspired opus.It is a hassidic exegesis on the Haggada that has been compiled from Schneersohn's writings, speeches and customs. Kabbalistic ideas such as incarnation and repairing the world through the performing of commandments are employed to explain the text. But Schneersohn's explanations are presented in a down-to-earth way. For instance, the "crushing labor" in Egypt is compared to an upwardly mobile workaholic engaged in the materialistic rat race after monetary success who is really in a self-imposed spiritual exile. Finally, The Kol Menachem Haggadah is designed elegantly with a "leather-like" binding and an olive-colored leaf design on the borders of each of its 229 pages, which makes it a pleasant book to peruse.