Harry Pot­ter and the Hog­warts Hag­gadah

The world of wiz­ardry has more in com­mon with the ex­o­dus than you re­alise

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BY JC RE­PORTER

THEY ARE both fa­mous lead­ers, known for mak­ing an im­pact on the wider world. But other than that, there does not seem to be much that Harry Pot­ter — boy wiz­ard ex­traor­di­naire — and Moses, the leader who brought the Jewish peo­ple out of Egypt, have in com­mon. At least un­til now.

A brand new hag­gadah, the Un­of­fi­cial Hog­warts Hag­gadah, has raced straight to the top of the best­seller lists on Ama­zon. Writ­ten — and self-pub­lished — by Rabbi Moshe Rosen­berg, it not only proves that a link to the boy who de­feated Volde­mort al­ways makes good fi­nan­cial sense, but also demon­strates con­nec­tions be­tween the story of the Ex­o­dus and life with Hermione, Ha­grid, Ron and more.

“There are so many par­al­lels be­tween Harry Pot­ter’s jour­ney from un­wanted or­phan to the saviour of wiz­ard­kind that I’m sur­prised this is the first ma­jor hag­gadah to be writ­ten about it,” Rabbi Rosen­berg, who leads a sy­n­a­gogue in Queens, New York City, ex­plained.

“The en­tire Harry Pot­ter se­ries, and each book, con­tains many of the key el­e­ments and lessons of the Ex­o­dus story: up­lift­ing the down­trod­den, shar­ing our cur­rent wealth and prosperity with oth­ers, ed­u­ca­tion, dif­fer­ent learn­ing styles, par­ent-child re­la­tion­ships, un­con­di­tional love and kin­ship with one an­other, and so on.”

He added: “It’s al­ways been a gift to have a com­mon language with which to com­mu­ni­cate with any­one that you’re teaching, and Harry Pot­ter has been ex­actly that. I can make ref­er­ences and il­lus­trate points through the story or through the char­ac­ters, and in­stantly ev­ery­one knows what I’m talk­ing about. It’s like a short­hand and a code that al­most ev­ery­one un­der­stands.”

Rabbi Rosen­berg, who says he was in­spired to write this book by the suc­cess of the Fan­tas­tic Beasts films, is no stranger to the Pot­ter oeu­vre. His first book was called Moral­ity for Mug­gles (that’s hu­mans for any­one who is not fa­mil­iar with the Pot­ter world) and he hosts “Harry Pot­ter Nights” for stu­dents he teaches in the Bronx. There they are sorted into houses, and, he claims, some­how play Quid­ditch.

The new hag­gadah it­self re­lates as­pects of the Seder to the Harry Pot­ter story, whether that’s a par­ody of Chad Gadya, or point­ing out that the four Hog­warts school houses (Gryffindor, Huf­flepuff, Raven­claw and Slytherin) re­late to the four sons.

It also, as Rabbi Rosen­berg is keen to point out “con­tains the full He­brew text of a tra­di­tional Ashke­nazi hag­gadah, an English trans­la­tion, and sec­tions through­out of Harry Pot­ter themed com­men­tary and di­vrei To­rah”.

Per­haps this year, sed­ers re­ally will be­come mag­i­cal.

The four Hog­warts houses re­late to the four sons’

Karla Raveh

Rabbi Rosen­berg’s new hag­gadah

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