April 07, 2006

Shabbos HaGadol

This Shabbos is Shabbos HaGadol (or the Great Sabbath).

From the Hineni website by Rabbi Osher Jungreis

The Great Sabbath, for the following reasons: a) There is an ancient tradition that on this Sabbath, Rabbis deliver in-depth sermons dealing with the intricate laws of Pesach, b) In this Sabbath`s Haftorah, it states, "Behold, I will send Elijah the Prophet to you before that great (HaGadol) and awesome day, c) The Jews in Egypt set aside the pascal lamb on this Shabbos for the first pascal sacrifice. Since the lamb was the deity of the Egyptians, this took great courage, faith and commitment. The Almighty G-d protected the Jewish people and miraculously the Egyptians did not attack the Jews.

He also writes -


At the end of this week`s parsha there is a puzzling passage, "This is the thing that HaShem commanded to be done.." (Leviticus, 8:5), but the Torah does not specify what "the thing" might be. In order to gain illumination, we turn to the previous verse wherein G-d instructed Moshe to gather the entire assembly of the Jewish people "to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting" - and herein lies the explanation which in and of itself is paradoxical. Although the area at the entrance was very small and could not contain so many people, nevertheless, miraculously, there was ample room for everyone. Through this phenomena, the Torah teaches us a profound lesson that speaks for all time: When true love prevails among people, no room, no place is too small. On the other hand, when contention and animosity fill hearts, then no space is big enough. The most majestic palace cannot accommodate those who are not at peace with one another, Thus the meaning of the passage becomes clear - "This is the thing that HaShem commanded to do": to reach out with love, kindness and understanding, and if we do that, then even the smallest, most limited space will miraculously expand. That is the power of love.

Although we no longer have the Temple, these laws are as meaningful today as yesterday, for our sages teach that each and every one of us is a Temple in microcosm. If we dedicate our lives to G-d and to His commandments, we become holy, but if we transgress, we defile ourselves. When we repent however, we recreate ourselves and in essence, rebuild the Temple within our souls, and in that re-creation we touch greatness.

Today, we no longer have sacrifices, but we can offer sacrifices through acts of mesiras nefesh - tapping deep within our hearts and dedicating our lives to a higher purpose - the service of our people and the worship of G-d. Self sacrifice is the stuff of which goodness and greatness is made. It is not limited to the Kohen, but is in the domain of each and every one of us. Let us pray a litle bit more, dedicate ourselves with more intensity to Torah and mitzvos, give a little bit more tzedukah, and feel the pain of our people.

Thought for the week: "The offering of G-d is a broken heart." (Psalms 51)

Please check out Hineni and all they have to offer. Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis is a Tzadekis in every sense of the word. Her audio lectures not only inspire me but her voice has a calming kedusha. Check it out for your selves by clicking HERE

On another note, this Shabbos is also the yahrtzeit of:

Miriam the Prophet (sister of Moshe Rabbeinu and Aharon HaKohain) and

Reb Betzalel HaKohain of Vilna, author of Mareh Kohain

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