By Rabbi Berach Steinfeld
The Rema brings down in Siman Taf Lamed that there is a minhag to say the Hagada on Shabbos HaGadol at mincha. The Ravya in Chelek Bais, Pesachim, siman Taf Chof Heh, says that the root of this custom was for the children to become familiar with the Hagada. The Maharshal, on the other hand, feels it is important for adults to say the Hagada on Shabbos HaGadol. We see from this discussion that the main reason for reading the Hagada on Shabbos HaGadol is for familiarizing oneself with the its writings.
The question arises, why is this specifically said on Shabbos HaGadol, whether it comes out right before Pesach or many days before Pesach? The Gra explains that the reason why we start saying the Hagada on Shabbos HaGadol is because that’s when they took the sheep in mitzrayim, the beginning of the geulah. We therefore recount the wondrous redemption starting from that time which coincides with Shabbos HaGadol. The Mechilta writes that one may only say the Hagada when there is matza and marror in front of him. Based on this Mechilta, the Gra says that one should not say the Hagada on Shabbos HaGadol.
Taking the above into account, is there an issur in saying the Hagada earlier, or is it just better to say it when there are matza and marror in front of the person? Some will compare it to the minhag of those who do not eat matza on Erev Pesach. The reason for that minhag is to avoid lessening the enjoyment and geshmak of eating matza on Pesach. Similarly, some believe one should not read the Hagada before Pesach for the same reason.
The Maharil explains that divrei Torah is geshmak for people who learn every single day. The only reason some geshmak may be lost by reading the Hagada before would be the loss of geshmak father to son interaction. Therefore, when one reads the Hagada on Shabbos HaGadol, one should not read it with his father in order to preserve the special enjoyment of “Vihigadita Livincha.”
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