Magical Seders ahead with Harry Potter Haggadah

A New York Rabbi sees parallels between Hogwarts and the Exodus


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 best-seller 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 heads up a synagogue in Queens, New York City, said.

“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 though 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 says he hosts “Harry Potter Nights” for the 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 house (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.

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