Kenneth Cohen

Shabbat Hagadol

This coming Shabbat is known as Shabbat Hagadol. Actually, the full name for this Shabbat is שבת הנס הגדול, the Shabbat of the great miracle.

The miracle referred to the matter of the Paschal lamb. On the tenth of Nissan, the Jewish people took lambs and tied them to their bed posts. The Egyptians worshipped lambs and said nothing when they were told that these lambs would be slaughtered on the fourteenth for the Korban Pesach.

This is why it was known as the Shabbat of the great miracle.

It is customary to read part of the Hadasah during the afternoon of this Shabbat. We are to re-familiarize ourselves so that we will be ready for the Seder.

It is also customary to hear a Shabbat Hagadol Drasha by the leading rabbi of the community. He is meant to teach important Passover laws, and inspire the people, in preparation for the coming holiday.

The Haftarah is from Malachi, that speaks of the יום הגדול, the great day, when our enemies will be destroyed once and for all. This is another reason for the name, Shabbat Hagadol.

We must also acknowledge the “great miracle” that was witnessed this past Saturday night. It is another proof that the current war is of biblical proportions. We should feel calm and confident that Hashem is protecting us today, just as He has always done throughout our history.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at