The Passover Haggadah Is Not Racist

Written by Gil Student

The Accusation

"We beg Thee, O Lord, inflict Thy wrath on the nations not believing in Thee. Take away, O Lord all hope from them. Destroy all foes of Thy nation."--Synagoga Judaica, p. 212. Minhagen, p. 23. Crach Chaim, 480 Hagah


This is partially accurate. Towards the end of the Passover Seder, the religious service of the first two evenings of Passover, a similar passage is recited. However, the passage is not at all as ominous as the accusers would have one believe. This is a direct quote from the Bible and is a request that G-d destroy those who destroyed the Temple and exiled the Jewish people. It was first said by a mournful Jeremiah and then included in Psalms. In the messianic hope of the end of the Seder we ask G-d to avenge the destruction of His Temple and rebuild it. One source of this custom is Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 480:1 (Hagah). The exact verses read differ based on custom [see R. Menachem Mendel Kasher, Haggadah Sheleimah, pp. 177-178] however all start with Psalms 79:6-7. I include below the parallel verse in Jeremiah. In no way is this an anti-gentile prayer. It is an anti-destroyer prayer.

Psalms 79:6-7

Pour out Your wrath upon the nations that do not recognize You, and upon the kingdoms that do not invoke Your Name. For they have devoured Jacob, and destroyed His habitation.


Jeremiah 10:25

Pour out Your wrath upon the nations that know You not and upon the families that do not call out in Your Name, for they have consumed Jacob - they have consumed him and annihilated him - and have devastated his abode.


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Copyright 2000 Gil Student