From the Haggadah of the Baal Shem Tov to the Rebbe’s Haggadah

Among the 1,500 Haggados owned by the Rebbe’s library, there are a number of them that have a special connection to Chabad. Rabbi Berel Levine displays and discusses several of them, starting from the Haggada of the Baal Shem Tov and concluding with the Haggada authored by our Rebbe.

By reporter

Thousands of priceless treasures lie on the shelves and safes of the Central Chabad Library, right next door to 770. The average chossid, however, won’t have the chance to see the most precious of them. Until now, that is.

A new series, launched by in partnership with the Rebbe’s library, will showcase some of the most unique and historic books and items in the Rebbe’s library.

In this special Pesach edition of ‘Treasures from the Rebbe’s Library’, Chief Librarian Rabbi Berel Levin displays and discusses some of the Haggados owned by the library that have a special connection to Chassidus Chabad.


Perhaps the most unique and priceless manuscript in the Rebbe’s library is the siddur of the Baal Shem Tov. Handwritten especially for his use, the siddur includes tefillos for the entire year, along with the kavanos ha’Arizal. The siddur also includes handwritten notes from the students of the Baal Shem Tov, who transcribed their names for the master and teacher to remember them while davening.

The Haggada Shel Pesach begins on page 163 of the manuscript, and can be seen in its entirety here.

Later on, the kavanos ha’Arizal on the Siddur were compiled and published by Reb Shabsi M’Roshkov, and the siddur became known as ‘Siddur Reb Shabsi’. The siddur was favored by the Chabad Rebbeim, who would use it during special moments of the year, including the Pesach Seder.

One such siddur in the library belonged to the Tzemach Tzedek. The Frierdiker Rebbe attached a note in his ksav yad kodesh attesting to the fact that the Tzemach Tzedek would hold the siddur during Tekios on Rosh Hashana and while reading the Haggadah.

Another unique copy of the Haggadah Shel Pesach is the one published in the first print of the Alter Rebbe’s Siddur. Published during the lifetime of the Alter Rebbe, and overseen by him, the Siddur contains concise instructions and halachos so anyone using it would know exactly what to do at any point of davening.

Only one copy of this print remains, which was owned by the Frierdiker Rebbe, and it is currently in exile in the Russian State Library in Moscow, along with thousands of others of seforim waiting to be redeemed.

The shiur concludes with a short overview on the commentary on the Haggadah Shel Pesach authored by the Rebbe, and the work authored by Rabbi Levine to help make the Rebbe’s Haggadah accessible to all.


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