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glossary of terms

Haggada (Hebrew: הגדה‎, "telling")

The Haggadah is a Jewish religious text that sets out the order of the Passover Seder. Reading the Haggadah is a fulfillment of the scriptural commandment to each Jew to "tell your son" about the Jewish liberation from slavery in Egypt as described in the Book of Exodus in the Torah. ("And thou shalt tell thy son in that day, saying: It is because of that which the LORD did for me when I came forth out of Egypt. " Ex.13:8)

According to Jewish tradition the Haggadah was compiled during the Mishnaic and Talmudic periods (c. 200 CE-500 CE), although the exact date is unknown. As of 2006, the oldest complete readable manuscript of the Haggadah is found in a prayer book compiled by Saadia Gaon in the 10th Century CE. By the end of the sixteenth century, only twenty-five editions had been printed. This number increased to thirty-seven during the seventeenth century, and 234 during the eighteenth century. It is not until the nineteenth century, when 1,269 separate editions were produced, that a significant shift is seen toward printed Haggadot as opposed to manuscripts. From 1900–1960 alone, over 1,100 Haggadot were printed.