Ninth of Nisan  6 days until Passover

Shabbat Hagadol ~ Shabbat before Passover

         This Saturday is Shabbat Hagadol, the Great Sabbath, the sabbath before Passover. This special Shabbat commemorates the preparation for the original Pesach in Egypt.

         Tomorrow, the 10th day of Nisan, the Hebrew slaves took the lambs that they were going to offer for Pesach and tied them up outside their homes, to keep until they offered them on the 14th (Ex. 12:3-6).

         According to tradition, this was a dangerous thing to do, because Egyptians worshipped sheep, but miraculously, instead of slaughtering the Hebrews, the Egyptians fought with each other over whether the Hebrews should be sent away.

         The special haftarah reading for this Shabbat is Malachi 3:4-24 (English Bible: Chapter 3:4-4:6). This messianic prophecy regarding the end of days and the return of the prophet Elijah is read at this time because it is believed that Elijah will return at Pesach. This is why many include a cup for him in the seder rituals.

         As Messianics, we should begin the reading at v.1 of Chapter 3.

         It is traditional in Jewish liturgy to repeat v.23 after 3:24 so as to conclude the public reading on a strong, hopeful note, rather than the threat of the final phrase of v.24. It also makes a connection between intergenerational reconciliation and Elijah, which is puzzling to many non believers.

"Lo, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before the coming of the awesome, fearful day of the Lord."



Story continues tomorrow, Nisan 10 ~ Next Page