Jew­ish Text

Night of Begin­nings: A Passover Haggadah

  • Review
By – March 30, 2022

With orig­i­nal bless­ings and read­ings, gen­der-inclu­sive trans­la­tions, and text-inspired illus­tra­tions, Mar­cia Falk’s Night of Begin­nings offers an inno­v­a­tive adap­ta­tion of the Passover Hag­gadah. Her text includes a full retelling of the Exo­dus — notice­ably absent from the tra­di­tion­al Hag­gadah — which re-cen­ters the Passover sto­ry as a Bib­li­cal nar­ra­tive as opposed to rab­binic inter­pre­ta­tion. Falk also includes kavan­ot, designed to assist the read­er in ele­vat­ing Seder rit­u­als through thought­ful practice.

To ease the read­er into deep­er explo­ration, the Hag­gadah is print­ed with col­or-cod­ed pages that iden­ti­fy the genre of each text. While fol­low­ing the order of a tra­di­tion­al Seder, Falk’s Hag­gadah focus­es on the themes of con­ceal­ment, reveal­ment, and self-aware­ness, which the author sug­gests are cen­tral to self-actu­al­iza­tion and freedom.

Night of Begin­nings is intend­ed for an adult audi­ence. As we might expect from Mar­cia Falk, it is a text-cen­tered, lit­er­ary explo­ration of Jew­ish rit­u­al, made acces­si­ble in Hebrew, Eng­lish, and translit­er­a­tion. It can serve as the sole text for a Seder or as a valu­able resource for addi­tion­al read­ings. Night of Begin­nings encour­ages read­ers to break free from the tra­di­tion­al Hag­gadah text and explore retelling the Passover sto­ry in a bold new way.

Jonathan Fass is the Man­ag­ing Direc­tor of Edu­ca­tion­al Tech­nol­o­gy and Strat­e­gy at The Jew­ish Edu­ca­tion Project of New York.

Discussion Questions