Friday, April 11, 2008

Halocho #93 - When is Shabbos Hagodol this year?

The Jews in Egypt were commanded to take home a lamb for the pre-Exodus Seder on 10 Nissan, four days before it was going to be sacrificed. It was a miracle that the Egyptians didn't harm the Jews when they did this, since lambs were considered sacred objects in Egypt. Since we left Egypt on Thursday 15 Nissan, this miracle happened on a Shabbos. To commemorate this miracle, the Shabbos before Seder Night is called Shabbos Hagodol - the Great Shabbos and a special Haftara is read; the last chapter in Malachi which predicts the future redemption, may we merit it in our days. Typically on Shabbos Hagodol the Rabbi's Drasha (lecture) is a refresher course of Pessach laws. When Pessach starts on Sunday - like this year - then the Shabbos Hagodol Drasha is given a week early, so as to make it useful. The custom is to read the narrative section of the Haggada - from Avadim Hayinu (we were slaves) until (but not including) Rabban Gamliel's admonition to say "Pesach, Matza and Marror" at Mincha on Shabbos Hagodol. The yearly Shabbos Hagodol Drasha will be tomorrow - Shabbos Parshat Metzora, 7 Nissan, whereas Shabbos Hagodol (with its special Haftarah and Haggada reading) is actually next week, Erev Pessach. Source: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 430 Shabbat Shalom - Danny

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