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    The sound of the songs – Pesach

    Mah Nishtanah, from the Sarajevo Haggadah, 1350

    Two years ago, when the pandemic might have undermined the tradition of the Seder, there was a lovely idea which undermined the pandemic itself.

    On every balcony in Jerusalem, children came out at 8.30 pm and sang Mah Nishtanah as loudly as they could.

    The sound went straight up to Heaven and God smiled and even laughed as the Book of Psalms says that He does when He sees the funny things that are done on earth.

    That year and every year the Seder ended with the sound of singing: Addir Hu, Echad Mi Yode’a, Chad Gadya and all the beloved melodies. Somehow the prophet Elijah weaves all the tunes together and God joins in!

    Each of the Pesach songs has a fascinating history. As an example, Addir Hu is a plea to God to rebuild His Temple soon, as a sign that the Jewish people are blessed with peace and the world is redeemed. The song refers to God in an alef-bet acrostic (alef: Addir, bet: Bachur, gimmel: Gadol).

    The melody, derived in the early 17th century from a German folk song, has become the musical motif of Pesach.

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