Confessions of a Crazed Chametz-Searcher and Pressed-for-Time Pesach Housecleaner, Part II
Some of you may remember that one year
ago at this time, immediately before Pesach, I shamefacedly confessed that I
had but one hour or so to write a d'var Torah on the parshah, for there was
simply too much housecleaning to do to spare even a moment more; the various
biblical prohibitions associated with having chametz around, as well as the
no less important requirement to maintain shalom bayis (peace in the home),
I knew you'd understand.
In commemoration of the miracle that took place on that Shabbos-the beginning of the final phase of our redemption which culminated in the destruction of the firstborn and the mass departure from Egypt on the 15th of Nisan,-the Sages decreed that the Sabbath immediately preceding Pesach would forever after be called, Shabbos HaGadol, the Great Shabbos.
The special Haftarah we read on this
Shabbos is taken from the very last chapter of the very last book of the
Prophets (Malachi). It concludes with an inspiring evocation of the
great Redemption to come, which-we are told-will be preceded by a great wave
of teshuvah: "Behold-I send you Elijah the prophet, before the great
and awesome day of Hashem. He shall restore the heart of fathers to
children and the heart of the children to their fathers."
The profound Torah commentary, S'fas Emes, goes deeper to understand the meaning of this Sabbath's special designation.
He cites an interesting teaching of our Sages: Shabbos complained that while every other day of the week is coupled with a special partner (Sunday with Monday, Tuesday with Wednesday, Thursday with Friday), she is left all alone. Hashem comforted the Shabbos by saying that the Jewish people is its partner, its spouse.
Every Divine influence or emanation (hashpa'ah) needs something to be able to receive it, the S'fas Emes explains. There are spiritual levels or locales, so to speak, in G-d's creation which can "receive" or accomodate the emanation of the six days of the work-week. Shabbos, however, has a kedushah (holiness) which transcends the entire physical creation-which is presumably why Shabbos is called, "a taste of the World to Come," by our Sages. Where in the Creation is there a spiritual counterpart to receive the lofty blessing and emanation of Shabbos??!! Nowhere except.the Jewish people.
Yet, it is only with the Exodus from
Egypt that the Children of Israel become free of their bondage, and capable
of assuming the "yoke" of the Torah and mitzvos and, thereby,
raising themselves above the bounds of nature and its restrictions; the open
miracles of the Exodus reveal to them the absolute power and transcendence
of G-d, the M'kor hanisim (Source of miracles), under Whose tutelage they
will henceforth live their national life. The Exodus elevated us to
that lofty level of being able to become the "spouse" of the
May we all learn to whistle while we do G-d's holy work and enjoy the extra-special spiritual influence of this unique Sabbath.
Edelstein is Director
of the the Savannah Kollel and the
Savannah Torah Education Project (STEP).
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