Sedra of the Week: Tsav and Hagadol
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Sedra of the Week: Tsav and Hagadol

Rabbi Zvi Solomons looks at the forthcoming week's portion of the Torah

Will your rabbi be sermonising to you in Yiddish this Shabbat?

It’s that time of year again, folks. Pesach is nearly upon us, and we need to remind ourselves of our duties.

On Shabbat Hagadol we read a special haftorah, from the book of Malachi, which contains the verse: “Behold, I send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.” [Malachi 3:23].

The history of this is interesting. Elijah is traditionally the harbinger of the Messiah, who it is said would be more likely to come and bring redemption on one of the foot-festivals, like Pesach, Shavuot or Sukkot.

This passage used to be read before all three of those festivals, since they were the most apposite seasons.

However, Pesach has more associations with Elijah and redemption than the any other time of year.

This is why the Shabbat before Pesach became the one occasion we read that haftorah, although Zedekiah ben Abraham Anav (1210 – c. 1280) writes in his Shibbolei Haleket that this applies to every festival.

Other reasons are given for this special Shabbat. This was the first Mitzvah given to us Jews as a people.

The Egyptians also learnt of the final plague on this day and their firstborn actually fought Pharaoh trying (unsuccessfully) to gain our release.

We turned from idolatrous practices to God who is great (gadol). This is also the day when a very long sermon (once in Yiddish in more traditional shuls) makes the day feel equally long.

Traditionally, we read the Haggadah over mincha, to get ourselves ready for the upcoming festival.

Wishing you a happy and kosher Pesach.

Zvi Solomons is the rabbi of JCoB.org, in Reading. Contact him on 07828 742 282 if you need a Seder place this Pesach.

 

Help perform the greatest mitzvah: save a life

While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.

That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.

We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.

Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”

read more:
comments