The Soul of Shabbat Hagadol  – Are we worthy of being redeemed?

Featured Video : Ultimately You – Passover with Reb Shlomo – March 1994



This week while I was in the UK, I had the privilege of learning some inspiring thoughts which I would like to share. The motivation for the title of this blog came from Rabbi Rashi Simon the Rabbi at Kesher. who said “We need to be worthy to be redeemed”


Prior to this, I attended a Shiur from Rabbi Tobin the new Rabbi at Ner Yisrael in Hendon. He said that “somebody can talk to a group of people and each one hears something different, interprets this differently based on his life experience and knowledge etc.

So, what do we think about when we hear about the words – are we worthy to be redeemed?

Are we worthy of living in Israel?

Are we worthy of living to our full potential?

Are we worthy of …….      ? (fill in your own blanks)

I also had the privilege of attending the goals seminar led by Phillip Collett a member of Kesher. His course Goals ( is based on the skills and tools learned over many years sharing the lessons and stories that he learnt by overcoming personal adversity. The course has been shared with over 200,000 people in the UK.

The aspect that Phil shares here is that we can not always control the Events in our life’s, but we can choose how to react. It is in our power, in ourselves on how to choose how we react when faced with challenges. Do we easily lose our temper, bear grudges, dwell in the past or to do we use our failures in life to become a better person, turn failure into success, His course gives practical advice on how to deal with the let’s call it the hard knocks in life. The course explores in a deeply practical way the challenges of low self-esteem and more. The course challenges one to evaluate whether we have enough confidence, positive self-esteem to be a better person, spouse, parent, child?

In other words, we need to consider whether we are worthy to choose or make the correct choices. Unfortunately, many people are mired in self-doubt, worn down by our failures. We all are waiting for somebody to fix our problems, our Mashiach  We are waiting for that better job, that raise, that investment opportunity to make a small fortune. Well as Phil says the answer is our hands. We have to take action to make it happen.

So how does all this relate to Shabbat Hagadol? On Shabbat Hagadol, we are praying for Redemption. We are asking ourselves – Are we worthy of being redeemed? We are looking forward to the four questions, the four sons, the chance to ask Hashem some real deep questions like  – Why is there so much evil in the world?, Why do bad things happen to good people?, What is my purpose in life?, When is Mashiach coming?.

We are waiting for Eliyiah Hanavi to come to wipe out the evil in the world. As we say on Seder night, Eliyahu HaNavi comes in and then we say, “Shfoch chamatcha al hagoyim” (spill out your wrath upon the nations who do not recognize You).

We are waiting for Eliyahu Hanavi to save us. Just like we are waiting for somebody to come to fix our problems. We are for Eliyahu HaNavi to herald the coming of Mashiach.

If you have not followed my waffling up until now, then this Story of Eliyiah Hanavi as related by Rabbi Rashi Simon will make it clearer.

A story is told of a Chosid who felt he needed a meeting with Eliyahu Hanavi (Elijah the Prophet) to resolve a difficult matter. He approached the Rebbe and asked him how to find Eliyahu Hanavi. It was Elul and the Rebbe responded that he should spend Rosh Hashanah with a certain poor widow who lives with her many children in a small village nearby. He sets out and arrives Erev Rosh Hashanah with but a few hours before Yom Tov. He knocks on the door and asks if he can stay with her and her children. She’s sceptical, but he presses his case while thinking of the Rebbe, and furthermore, he has no other place at this point to go. He’ll gladly sleep on the floor in a far corner of the house. She relents and agrees. He enters and quickly sees the great poverty of this family; the house is a hovel and there is not nearly enough food for them, let alone a guest. He quickly runs to a small store that is still open and buys whatever he can find for Yom Tov. The sun begins to go down and he heads out to the village shul as Rosh Hashanah begins. The Yom Tov comes and goes, the two days pass, and no sign of Eliyahu Hanavi.

Dejected, the chosid returns to his home and seeks out the Rebbe. “I did as you said, I went to that widow, but there was no sign of Eliyahu.”

The Rebbe thought long and deeply and finally responded, “I think you have no choice but to return to her for Yom Kippur.” He was stunned and disappointed at the answer, but what could he say? The Rebbe had to be obeyed.

He arrives on Erev Yom Kippur in the afternoon on his wagon outside the widow’s hovel. Before he can even leave the wagon, he puts his head down in disbelief.  “Why am I in this miserable place? This is hopeless. And now it’s too late to go elsewhere!” Still sitting in his wagon he hears one of the children cry out to the mother, “Mommy, tonight is Yom Kippur. What will we eat so that we will not die from fasting?” The chosid sinks even more deeply at hearing these words. But then this widow responds to her child, and the words she spoke at that moment would change this man’s life forever. “My child, I do not know what we shall eat. But this I do know: Hashem sent Eliyahu Hanavi to us for Rosh Hashanah. Perhaps He will send him again for Yom Kippur”.

We must stop hiding and denying, looking over the rainbow for that person, that messiah who will solve our problems. We have all seen “the hero” and he is me.

If we will bring “our Eliyahu Hanavi” to the seder, then we can greet Eliyahu Hanavi himself, and see the end of this long, long, “Layla” of exile, speedily in our days. 

About the Author
Jeffrey is a Blogger, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist (we can only dream) living in Jerusalem. He has five kids and three grandchildren. He is looking to spread the message of Ahavat Yisrael and Jewish Unity through the music and teachings of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach and connecting our lost Jewish brothers and sisters to Israel. God and themselves.
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