Night of Beginnings
A Passover Haggadah
Night of Beginnings is a groundbreaking new haggadah for the Passover seder from acclaimed poet, translator, and liturgist Marcia Falk, beautifully designed and illustrated with original watercolor drawings by the author.
Unlike both traditional and new haggadahs, which do not contain a full recounting of the biblical story, Night of Beginnings presents the Exodus narrative in its entirety, providing a direct connection to the ancient origins of the holiday. This retelling highlights the actions of its female characters, including Miriam; Pharaoh's daughter, who adopts the baby Moshe; and the midwives Shifrah and Pu'ah, who save the Hebrew male infants. Falk's revolutionary new blessings, in Hebrew and English, replace the traditional, patriarchal seder blessings, and her kavanot—meditative directions for prayer—introduce a genre new to the seder ritual. Poems, psalms, and songs are arranged to give structural coherence to the haggadah. A new commentary raises interpretive questions and invites us to bring personal reflections into the discussion. Like the author's widely acclaimed previous prayer books, The Book of Blessings and The Days Between, Falk's poetic blessings for the seder envision the divine as a Greater Whole of which we are an inseparable part. The inclusive language of Falk's blessings makes room for women to find and use their voices more full-throatedly than they were able to do with the male-centered prayers inherited from the early rabbis. Men, too, will encounter here a spiritually moving and thought-provoking experience.
Marcia Falk is a poet, translator, liturgist, and artist known widely for her groundbreaking prayer books?The Book of Blessings and The Days Between, which re-create Hebrew and English prayer from an inclusive, nonpatriarchal perspective. Falk is also the creator of a volume combining her art and poetry, Inner East: Illuminated Poems and Blessings, and other books of poetry and translation, including a now-classic translation of the Song of Songs.
"Bold . . . elegant, and eloquent. . . . With the publication of this Haggadah, the North American Jewish community is getting its best chance yet of being exposed to Falk's innovative and deeply thoughtful approach to liturgy. . . . Falk is a wonderful poet and wordsmith in both Hebrew and English . . . the holiday ritual that she has set forth for us to celebrate is . . . described in . . . wonderfully rich and memorable words. . . . The excellent commentary . . . must satisfy those of us who want to talk about enslavement and liberation in non-theological terms."?Herbert Levine,?Tikkun
"I genuinely love this new haggadah.?It speaks to me very deeply. It is beautiful not only in its colorful design, which is superb, but in its theology as well as in its profound liturgical innovations. It has already helped me to begin to prepare for?Pesach?this year with some new meaning. I will definitely bring it with me to my?seder?this year."?Rabbi Ron Kronish,?Times of Israel?
"How lovely to have a haggadah that makes central the biblical narrative that hovers over?but is absent from?the traditional haggadah. Those familiar with Marcia Falk's transformational work on Jewish blessings will be delighted by her new blessings for all parts of the seder, while those not yet acquainted with her blessings will find them a revelation. This is a beautiful haggadah."?Judith Plaskow, author of Standing Again at Sinai and coauthor, with Carol P. Christ, of Goddess and God in the World ?