Sunday, April 09, 2006

DVAR TORAH: Shabbat Hagadol/Tzav

Shabbat HaGadol b'Beit Knesset HaGadol im haRav HaGadol (The Great Sabbath in the Great Synagogue with the Great Rabbi (aka Chief Rabbi). Actually, I decided not to hear the Sephardic Chief Rabbi (who looks a little less like AlfTM than Ovadia Yosef does) and instead hear the Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Israel, Yona Metzger, at the Jeshurun Shul. You see, as one of the two most important Shabbatot of the year, Shabbat HaGadol (which means The Great Sabbath, testifying to it's importance... and more accurately the length of its sermons in discussing, ad nauseum, the laws of Passover and preparing for it).

Anyway, Rabbi Metzger, whom I met and is a very warm person, spoke about (and this is where it may get fuzzy because it was entirely in quick Hebrew and a guy that showed up late was davening Mincha semi-aloud (at least so I could hear it...) these guys who travelled to the lands of the east (ie: China) before pesach, and the border authority told them they had to get rid of all their food. They were able to smuggle the wine in, but their matzah had to go. Well, at this point it was impossible to get matzah in the Far East, so they would have to go without it. But would they have been able to have a seder? "when the matzah and maror are on the table before you" is the time you can do the seder. If you don't have one of the two, can you do the seder. תיק"ו.
The other issue he said was about what has to be concluded at midnight. Hallel. WHA?!? Well, there is an oddity in that hallel is split up. Well, first of all it is strange that Hallel is said at night here (when Rambam says there are 18 days of the year when full hallel is said, he does not include the seder night(s) of pesach). Why is it not said at night? Psalms 113:3, which is the first of the psalms of Hallel says, "ממזרח שמש עד מבואו מהלל שם ה'" "from the rising of the sun to its destination the Name of God is praised" (praise = Hallel). Want another? The last of the six psalms, Psalms 118:24 states,"זה היום עשה ה' נגילה ונשמחה בו" "this is the day that God made, we shall be happy and joyous on it". And if I can add my own two cents, "day and not night" also comes up in the seder (in the section of the discussion of whether we can do the seder on Rosh Chodesh Nisan) where they conclude that this includes night AND the messianic age is made to parallel that (this world and day parallel each other in this case as well).

As for Parashat Tzav, did you see all the references to sacrifices with various types of leavened and unleavened bread, and that leavened bread could not be brought to the altar? Probably because it's really hard to kasher something so large for pesach, so they didn't want to deal with chometz over there...

Oh well... that's it. have a Great week...

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