New Vine of David Haggadot

Vine of David, a publishing arm of First Fruits of Zion (FFOZ) has recently published two different Haggadot in time for Pesach. (However, I just heard that they have already sold-out of all the Pesach Haggadahs).

FFOZ has an excellent reputation in regard to the quality of their materials. They have consistently put out quality publications, and continue to increase the quality with every new product.

Derek Leman, a friend, colleague, and fellow-blogger just spent an afternoon with the guys from FFOZ and was able to visit their headquarters and beautiful Beit Midrash. You can read about Derek’s experience on his blog.

I have been quite impressed with these two new Haggadot and believe FFOZ has made a contribution to how Messianic Jews will observe Pesach in the future.

The Passover Haggadah

Vine of David’s new Passover Haggadah is sure to change the face of all Messianic Haggadot. It is very well laid out, with Hebrew on the right side of the page, and English and essential transliterations on the left. The Hebrew font is easy to read and large.

It is also a complete Haggadah, retaining all the traditional elements of the Seder, while adding Messianic elements. I even applaud FFOZ for retaining some traditional songs in the back like Chad Gadya.

One of the strengths of this Haggadah is also one of its weaknesses. Because it is a complete Haggadah retaining the traditional elements and Messianic supplements, it is a little long. As such, it will be interesting to see how many congregations will adopt it for their communal Seders.

The illustrations accompanying the text are another nice touch. However, a couple of the illustrations I found a little out of place in a Messianic Jewish Haggadah. For example, on p.16 there is an illustration of a family sitting around the seder table. One figure on the left is wearing a large felt yarmulke, a beard, and peyos. The rest of the family looks more Modern-Orthodox. What I found a little disconnecting is that the family hardly resembles 90% of American Jews.

If this were a Haggadah published by Chabad or Artscroll I would not even bat an eye. But for a Haggadah aimed at a wider Jewish community, Jewish people will need to see themselves reflected in the pages. It would be more helpful if the illustrations reflected the diversity of the American Jewish community today.

However, this is really a minor detail, and overall the new Vine of David Haggadah is definitely a positive contribution to Messianic Haggadot and I would not be surprised if it becomes a staple of Messianic households in the future.

I highly recommend this Haggadah for your Seder table.

The Seudat Mashiach Haggadah

Vine of David’s second Haggadah is probably the most innovative of the two new Haggadot. It is a Haggadah for Seudat Mashiach – the Meal of Messiah. For those unfamiliar with this practice, there is a custom among many Chasidim to observe another Seder on the last night of Pesach. This special Seder, called Seudat Mashiach – the Meal of Messiah, is observed in anticipation of the Messianic banquet that will happen when Mashiach returns. The custom was implemented by the Baal Shem Tov, and recalls not just the themes of our redemption from Egypt, but heavily draws on our future redemption and the regathering of Israel.

A Seudat Mashiach is very loose. It is based on the themes and four cups of a regular Seder, but traditionally there has not been a set Haggadah for this in the wider Jewish community. Some households and communities do have certain customs during their meal, but these practices will vary widely. Most of the Seudot Mashiach I have attended in Chasidic communities have mostly centered around telling stories and singing niggunim. There was no set reading or a real set order.

Several of us have observed the practice of Seudat Mashiach for nearly ten years, and a few Messianic Jewish communities have even hosted a Seudat Mashiach in their congregations. As a Messianic Jew, I have always found this custom deeply meaningful and another way to express my Messianic hashkafa within a Jewish context.

Vine of David’s new Haggadah for the Meal of Messiah introduces this practice to a wider audience in the Messianic Jewish community and creates a set order and text for this sacred meal. It also uses the same nice, clean layout and format of their Passover Haggadah.

I am interested to see if this practice will continue to catch on in the wider Messianic Jewish community, and how Vine of David’s Haggadah for this special meal will be adopted.

I again applaud Vine of David for these two new contributions to the Messianic Jewish community and would greatly encourage you to get a copy of each of these Haggadot and consider using them in your home and congregation in the future.

Yasher koach to my friends over at FFOZ/Vine of David!

About Rabbi Joshua

I'm a Rabbi, writer, thinker, mountain biker, father and husband ... not necessarily in that order. According to my wife, however, I'm just a big nerd. I have degrees in dead languages and ancient stuff. I have studied in various Jewish institutions, including an Orthodox yeshiva in Europe. I get in trouble for making friends with perfect strangers, and for standing on chairs to sing during Shabbos dinner. In addition to being the Senior Rabbi of Simchat Yisrael Messianic Synagogue in West Haven, CT, I write regularly for several publications and speak widely in congregations and conferences. My wife is a Southern-fried Jewish Beltway bandit and a smokin' hot human rights attorney... and please donโ€™t take offense if I dump Tabasco sauce on your cooking.
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10 Responses to New Vine of David Haggadot

  1. Boaz Michael says:

    Thank you for the nice review and comments. I just reviewed the image you referenced and I think you are right–that Chassid is a little out of place. We will fix that for the next printing. Perhaps you can just imagine him as a distant uncle! :-)You are welcome to send me any other thoughts and critiques…we will be reprinting this for next year in the Fall of 2010.

  2. Rods Bobavich says:

    I just wanted to reply suggesting that the Chassid is NOT out of place!!!Within the Messianic movement we've often become embittered towards our orthodox neighbors for little or no reason. I look like the guy you describe. I have 6in payyot and a 14in beard. I'm fully Messianic. Often when I travel, people are surprised to learn that I'm Messianic because the Messianic movement is characterized by so much anti-orthodoxy.But payyot and Messianism are not mutually exclusive. The undertones of such a mixed group who have different Halachot is part of the beauty of our movement. We recognize that people are at different places in their walk and we accept them where they are and encourage them to grow. I plead not to exclude the Chessid because we MUST encourage this type of UNITY!We shouldn't be blotting anyone out because of Christian Anti-Semetitism, Messianic prejudice or modern marketing trends. We are one body made up of many parts. Let's not chop off hands or feet and say we don't need them. The parts that are the most different are the ones that we need the most!!!…Rods ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Rabbi Joshua says:

    Rods,Thank you for your comment. This blog post has nothing to do with embitterment towards Orthodoxy nor against practices that are more Observant. In fact, this blog as a whole represents no such thing. And as one who has spent considerable time within the Orthodox world, including having spent considerable time in a yeshiva, I am by far the last person to be embittered toward the Orthodox community. Rather, my critique reflects reality. 90% of Jews are NOT Orthodox. And in fact, many within the Jewish community have no interest in becoming Chareidi. As such, as I mentioned in my above reveiew, if this Haggadah is "aimed at a wider Jewish community, Jewish people will need to see themselves reflected in the pages. It would be more helpful if the illustrations reflected the diversity of the American Jewish community today."My emphasis IS unity, and not limiting illustrations to only stereotyped imagery of Jewish people. Although peyos and black hats appear on many Messianic Gentiles, peyos and black hats only represent 10% of the Jewish community.

  4. Steven and Ophyleah says:

    I agree with Rods Bobavich! I don't see anything wrong with imagery like that. My husband even looks what you described. And my son will bear the same image, with the peyot and the beard, and the kippah, when he is of bar mitzvah age. I say, leave it alone. If people are offended, they don't have to look at it. But I would not change my look for someone who was offended by it, if it meant I would be let in their front door. Because I know I dress for Hashem's approval, alone. But also, I don't deny people in my front door just because they don't dress or look like us. If you have to change for approval from the masses, then I guess you'll do what you're going to do. But I think this imagery could very well inspire the masses, rather than the other way around. Shalom!

  5. Stephanie Elaine Smith says:

    Everyone is on a different stage in their walk. Individually we should be allowing the spirit to guide us to what we should be focusing on. Even how we appear will differ from others. No one should blot out.. that is judgment and it isn't ours to hand out. =D I have been guilty of this with christian believers of late (I was raised Baptist); in particularly, my family who is no longer speaking to me in any fashion. Still much will happen for all of us to become one in HIM. I fear it will come with much suffering so that we can be molded the way Yeshua will have our hearts to be. Since I myself question everything I have learned to just stick to the scriptures and let the traditions of men fall by the wayside. =D

  6. Jorge Nunez says:

    The thoughts and critiques came up because of something more than the fact of a simple image. I am a member of a messianic yeshiva at Caracas. In the last class we had a discussion like this post. We remembered the example of the jews karaites some centuries ago. Most of them came back their original root. Iโ€™m not saying we should become orthodoxs but we have to start to be less anti-orthodoxs or un-orthodoxs. There is the danger of repeat again the separation between the gentile churches with the messianic judaism like happened on the first centuries. But now it would be between the messianic gentiles and the messianic jews.

  7. Rods Bobavich says:

    Rabbi Joshua, thanks for clarifying! :-)I certainly am NOT suggesting that we feature Chessidim too predominantly. However, to cut them out completely is a grievous omission and could easily send the wrong undertone. This is the hard part about adding pictures in publication. As a 10 year marketing veteran I've seen repercussion hit so many times from either side. It's sad that people ARE so prejudiced and take these things so seriously. But they are and they do…In my family it goes from extreme orthodoxy to non-observance. Despite our differences we all love Messiah. While my family's halachah is vastly different our love is the same for all. This is the aspect that I want the Messianic movement to grasp. So much of our movement is brow-beating and back-biting. Probably whether left-in or taken-out there are going to be decenter of this Haggadah. My point is that a mixed photo DOES most clearly illustrate our UNITY. And we need much more unity…I've seen so much of the Messianic movement cut off hands feed and internal organs of the Body because they don't understand. It pains me and I don't want to imply that this behavior is acceptable at all. I think that "modern Jews" (who know of the Chessidim but don't like then) would hone in on this omission and take home a prejudice we do not intend. (Everyone else wouldn't even realize that things could be taken that way.) By picturing mixed halachah we imply our welcoming of all and our faith centered on Messiah rather than halachah.Hopefully that tones down my remarks from being inflammatory to being constructive. This is my deepest desire…I love you all. Blessings in your respective ministries……Rods ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Patrick McDonald MRav. says:

    I agree with Rod's and many posters, I saw nothing wrong with Rods comment. You are absolutely correct and it's the "exclusion" of others be they Chassid or Mainstream Christians, that is causing this massive division in the body. I know and am associated with Believers from all walks and stages of walks, and I see the inclusion as more unifying than disruptive.Mac

  9. Monique says:

    Observing mitzvot and dressing like the haredim are TOTALLY separate issues.

  10. Boaz Michael says:

    Dressing like a Chassid (when you are not one) undermines the very Torah that one desires to uphold.Monique is spot on. They are separate issues and one reveals his Torah naivety when they are confused.

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