Virtually every Jewish man, woman and child knows what Passover is and has participated at a Seder using the Passover Haggadah. It is the most beloved and universally popular Jewish book. The Haggadah has been published and printed in hundreds if not thousands of versions, and despite the fact that people have been adapting this ancient text and amending the ritual to reflect the consciousness of modernity, it remains remarkably impervious to changes in fashion.
Part of the reason for its endurance is the fact that it is a very precisely worded and profoundly mystical text of fabulous complexity and brilliance. It should come as no surprise that all the characters mentioned by name in the Haggadah, R. Akiba, R. Yosi Haglili and R. Yehuda, were known to be active in the mystical arts in first and second century Palestine. Some, like R. Eleizer the Great and R. Akiba were leaders of their esoteric schools and authored Kabbalistic texts of their own.
For the first time, the English reader is invited to join a Seder with some of the protagonists of those discussions, to make the personal journey out of slavery, to prepare for personal Giluy Shechinah - Divine Revelation.
The Kabbalist Haggadah gives the reader a compelling reason and a marvelous tool for revisiting the original Haggadah. Every line of text and every detail of the ritual is given its basic Kabbalistic description and appropriate Kavanah - Intention. Besides providing a wealth of information to the would-be Kabbalist, a how-to manual of the Mystical Seder, Rabbi J. Hershy Worch takes the reader into the rarified world of Practical Kabbalah where every thought is mirrored and every act brings a response: As below so above - as above so below.
The subtext of the Haggadah is the primal trauma, Adam and Eve eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, resulting in the loss of intimacy, referred to in the Kabbalah as the Exile of Da'at - Knowing. Slavery is undoubtedly the most prevalent and ancient of human sicknesses. Compulsive behaviors and what are commonly considered `addictions', all the modern barriers to intimacy, are merely the current forms of Egyptian Exile. The Haggadah is an ancient Self-help book, because that's what Kabbalah is all about.