The Megillos have been packed away for next year, while the mishloach manos and other chometz are quickly being consumed. Brooms and mops are being wielded along with other reinforcements, and the fumes of Easy-Off and Windex waft through the air. Purim quickly becomes a distant memory as families turn their attention to the approaching Yom Tov of Pesach. Various Haggados and Pesach-related seforim, both new and old, are being prominently displayed in Judaic bookstores, as the focus on the meaning and depth of Pesach begins to be explored anew.
The Torah Vodaas Haggadah is taking its place of prominence at the forefront of the retail displays. The product of months of preparation, this unique sefer is a compilation of the divrei Torah of seven prominent roshei yeshiva who, collectively, led Yeshiva Torah Vodaas for nearly a century. A perfect complement to the Seder, this work includes, in addition to the roshei yeshiva’s divrei Torah, the Pesach minhagim of these legendary figures, as well as biographical sketches of their lives. Beautifully laid out in a most aesthetically pleasing way, the Haggadah is a delight for the eyes as it is for the mind and heart.
This project was the brainchild of Tsemach Glenn, a devoted talmid of Yeshiva Torah Vodaas. While still in the yeshiva, he developed a close relationship with Rav Simcha Sheps, Rav Avrohom Pam and Rav Elazar Kahanow, and he initially planned to compile the Pesach divrei Torah of just these three roshei yeshiva. Upon the advice of Rabbi Binyomin Zev Karman, a colleague from his days as a talmid in Torah Vodaas, Tsemach decided to also include in the Haggadah the works of Rav Reuvain Fein and Rav Gedaliah Schorr. As the project progressed, Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky’s and Rav Shlomo Heiman’s chiddushim were added as well.
(The roshei yeshiva of Torah Vodaas who were omitted from this volume were nevertheless not neglected. Time constraints and difficulty gathering and translating their chiddushim dictated that they instead be included in a second volume, one that is already scheduled for release in time for Pesach 5772. That volume will include chiddushim from Rav Reuvain Grozovsky, Rav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz, Rav Shmuel Kushelevitz and Rav Aharon Yeshaya Shapiro, amongst others.)
Given the amount of divrei Torah available from these roshei yeshiva alone, it was necessary to peruse many, many of their works and the writings of their talmidim in order to narrow down and select the pieces that would be most appropriate for this Haggadah. The writers hired for this project strove to have the sefer bring out the greatness of the miracle of Yetzias Mitzrayim, impart emunah, and foster a feeling of ahavas haTorah.
The beauty of this Haggadah is that it encompasses the length and breadth of Torah Vodaas history. Rav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz sought to infuse his talmidim with a broad array of Torah views and personalities. The authors managed to capture the essence of each one of these roshei yeshiva: the measured logic of Rav Shlomo Heiman; the Chassidic insights of Rav Gedaliah Schorr; the truthful and novel elucidation of Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky; the mussar of Shanghai and the “Mir element” of Rav Reuvain Fein; the fiery passion of Rav Simcha Sheps; the eloquence and aidelkeit of Rav Avrohom Pam; and the halachic brilliance of Rav Elazar Kahanow. There is no doubt that this Haggadah has something for every reader.
From Kadeish through Nirtzah, readers of the Torah Vodaas Haggadah will be able to envisage these masters of Torah and mussar imparting to them the emunah and ahavas haTorah that they possessed. Indeed, a Torah Vodaas talmid learning from this Haggadah will be transported back to the shiurim of his great rabbeim. Others, no doubt, will be drawn to these gedolim of yesteryear, and will feel an immediate connection with them. Either way, the Torah Vodaas Haggadah will surely give one a Pesach experience to be long remembered.
Order the Haggadah here.