FedTalks Shabbos Hagodol- Rabbi Y Roodyn – Transcript
I’ve been spending quite a lot of time with the British Museum recently. Perhaps one of the most striking exhibits is a statue of a sheep and the sheep is cradling a Pharaoh. As well we know amongst the many different objects and items and natural phenomenon that the Egyptians worshiped, they worshipped the lamb, they worshipped the sheep. The sheep that provides them with meat, with milk, with wool for clothing, takes care of all their physical needs and therefore it’s an object of worship.
Shabbos Hagodol, “the great Shabbos”. It is called Shabbos hagodol for a number of reasons.
Number one, the rabbi speaks for a long time. There’s lots to get through, plenty to learn, plenty to understand. So there’s a long drosho, it’s Shabbos hagodol.
But there’s another reason as well. Because the nes godol, the big miracle, happened on that day. On the Shabbos before Pesach, the Shabbos before the 14th of Nissan, the 10th of Nissan in the year 2448, this slave-people were told to take the god of Egypt, tie it up to their bedposts, keep it there for four days and on the day of “mishku ukchu lochem”, on the day that they were told to draw it close and take it for themselves, their Egyptian slave masters said nothing. They did not respond. They did not react. This was the first stage in the liberation of the Jewish people.
The Shlo Hakodosh, Reb Shaya Levi Horowitz, says “mishku ukchu lochem tson”, mazzal Nissan is tle. The sign of the zodiac for the month of Nissan is Aeries, sheep. By taking the sheep and tying it up, the Jewish people are making the statement that we are no longer subjected to the laws of nature. We’re no longer under the stars. Like Avrohom ovinu was taken out from the stars, the Jewish people here as a nation en masse are defining their destiny as no longer being subjugated to the natural order.
The Jewish people need to go emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually free in order to leave Mitzrayim. Had they just walked out without this act of defiance, had they walked out without taking the Egyptian god, tying it up, subjugating and slaughtering it, they never would have been able to make that journey out as free men and women.
But there’s another explanation as well. The haftora comes from Malachi, the last of the nevi’im, who leaves us with a parting message two and a half thousand years ago, the last Navi who ends the era of prophecy. Malachi hanovi says, “hinei onochi sholeach lochem es Eliyohu hanovi”. Hold on tight Jewish people, because at the end of days I’m going to send you Eliyohu hanovi.
Like we open the door on seider night that he should come “lifnei bo hayom Hashem hagodol vehanoiro”- the great day of Hashem is coming. Shabbos Hagodol is a day where we talk about the future as well. We realise that the story of Pesach isn’t just a story of history, it is a story of destiny. The journey of klal Yisroel, the journey of the Jewish people starts in Mitzrayim and ends in the yomos hamoshiach. We are so fortunate to be part of that journey. A journey that goes from the Shabbos hagodol, from the neis godol, that great miracle in Egypt when the Egyptians said nothing, to that “yom Hashem hagodol vehanoiro”, when we will understand how all of history fits together, when Hashem makes his plan clear to us all.
In Nisan we were redeemed, please G’d in Nissan we too wil be redeemed again.