September 19, 2019

Manners Before Torah

“Normally, this shabbat would be the shabbat before Shavuot, but because Shavuot begins right after shabbat ends, the shabbat before is literally the day before, so I decided to publish this a week early.

The shabbat before Shavuot has no special designation, but most of the shabbatot which precede a major biblical holiday do have a special designation.

The shabbat before Passover is called shabbat hagadol (the great shabbat). It is not known for sure why that Shabbat received this title, but one explanation is that the haftorah which is read on the Shabbat preceding Passover contains the passage from Malachi 3:23 – Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.

During the Passover Seder we pour a cup of wine for Elijah the Prophet in expectation that he is arriving to bring us the final redemption and usher in the messianic era. We equate this first redemption of the Jewish people with the final redemption and so this is Shabbat Hagadol.”

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