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Four matters regarding this Shabbat and the final days before Pesach‏‏

שבת הגדול

1. This last Shabbat before Pesach is called Shabbat HaGadol (the Great Shabbat). There are many reasons given to explain this name. One of them is that on this Shabbat a great Torah scholar or rabbi of the community is called upon to give a lecture on the laws of Pesach. In virtually every synagogue in the world, such a speech will be heard this Shabbat.

2. On this Shabbat, it is customary to read sections of the Haggadah in order to get a taste of the extraordinary night that awaits us when we will celebrate the Exodus from Egypt.
3. On this Shabbat, we read the Torah portion of Tzav and a special haftarah that describes not only the redemption from Egypt but our final future redemption: "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers." Notice that the task of Elijah the prophet, in heralding the redemption, is to bring the hearts of the younger and the older generations closer together.
4. I once heard that these last few days of preparation before Pesach, properly utilized, can maximize our Seder experience. Careful planning is essential as each member of the household is given an assignment and understands how, when, and where their task or errand is to be accomplished . While we had to leave Egypt in a hurried and chaotic state, this does not mean there is any reason to be hasty or disorganized while preparing for the Seder. A Seder is as successful as the planning that goes into it.
Shabbat shalom.


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