Concepts in Judaism

“Shabbat HaGadol” is Like Yom Kippur

1. Shabbat Hagadol the “Great Shabbat” is named in memory of the great miracle that occurred in Egypt. The Tur quotes a Midrash “And they each took a sheep for the Passover sacrifice and tied them to their beds. The Egyptians asked “what is this for” and the Jews answered to slaughter it as G-d commanded us,” The Egyptians gritted their teeth because the Jews were slaughtering their idol (the sheep) and they couldn’t say anything to the Jews (let alone harm them). In memory of that miracle the Shabbat before Passover is called “The Great Sabbath.”
2. Thanksgiving for the Redemption of Our Soul: – On Shabbat Hagadol, Israel fulfilled the command: “pull and take” – “pull” your hands from idolatry, “and take” your sheep for the mitzvah, and cleave your soul to the Creator of all the worlds. The people of Israel were able to reach this level thanks to the holy Shabbat, which is called “Yoma D’nishmata” the day of the soul. For this reason, future generations established to thank G-d for this redemption on the Sabbath day, when they leave the exile of the soul.
3. A prelude to the Redemption:  This Shabbat is called Shabbat Hagadol because it is a prelude to redemption, as it is said in its haphtarah (Malachi 3:23) “Behold, I send you Elijah the Prophet Before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.” This verse talks of the final redemption.

4. This Yom Kippur is like Yom Kippur: The Ciddushei Harim says that verse says the Shabbat preceding the exodus was the 10th of Nissan and Yom Kippur which purifies us is the 10th of Tishrei. That’s why Yom Kippur is called 'Yoma Rabbah, the great day' and this Shabbat is also called 'Shabbat HaGadol' because it “sanctifies and sanctifies the souls of Israel from all fault and sin.”
5. Every Shabbat derives its strength from Shabbat Hagadol and Sabbath Shuva, the Shabbat of Repentance.  The Ohev Yisroel, writes lofty things about this Shabbat. He explains the Zohar: “Every weekday derives its sanctity from the previous Shabbat, but every Shabbat derives its strength from the Great Shabbat and Shabbat of Repentance.”
6. This Shabbat helps us return to God out of love, appreciating the magnitude of the miracle that He has done with us. The Sefat Emet explains that Shabbat HaGadol is like Shabbat Shuvah, and we must return to God with complete repentance, with love. “Every person should return to G-d from appreciation of the great kindness that He has done with us when He took us out of Egypt, and chose us to be His people, and the Great Shabbat will bring man to repent by recognizing His greatness.”
7. The commandment of the Sabbath is a reminder of the exodus from Egypt:  The Sefat Emet explains on Shabbat HaGadol: “Every Shabbat is a reminder of G-d’s creation of the world. When Israel left Egypt Shabbat got another reason; it’s a reminder of the Exodus from Egypt.” In other words, the Sabbath was called “Shabbat Hagadol” because, thanks to the miracle that took place that week, another reason was added to the mitzvah of Shabbat.
8. The exodus from Egypt indicates G-d’s greatness:  The Maharal explains that the Shabbat prior to the Exodus from Egypt deserves to be called the great Sabbath.  “The exodus from Egypt is called great because of the greatness of G-d’s deeds when we left Egypt.”  The Maharal adds exciting things about the future redemption:  “And for the future, in the world to come, Israel will acquire a loftier level, and the Holy One, blessed be He, will do even greater things than all greatness.
9. On this day, G-d’s kingdom arises:  The Shelah explains that on the Great Sabbath the heavenly ministers of Egypt on high were abolished. “The great Sabbath, which symbolizes freedom, nullifies the ministers above. This is the tying of the lamb to the bedpost that indicates its power above. On the great Sabbath preceding the exodus from Egypt, the power of all the heavenly ministers in charge of the nations of the world, was abolished, and the kingdom of the Lord ascended (Pesachim 56b Chapter of Torah)
10. Israel believed wholeheartedly that the firstborn of Egypt would die: The Meshech Chochma explains that just as on Shabbat one does not work, and proves that he trusts God to give him his livelihood, so on Shabbat Hagadol Israel believed that the firstborn’s plague would occur, and in that merit they received Shabbat . Therefore it was called Shabbat Hagadol” (Deuteronomy 20:20)
11. They were freed and left Pharaoh's labors: The Sefat Emet explains that on Shabbat man becomes free, and he can accept the yoke of the kingdom of heaven with love and an open heart without needing a lot of work as in the weekdays. “When the children of Israel were leaving Egypt and Moses promised them that they would go out in this last plague, they became free men and left Pharaoh's labors. Therefore this Sabbath was called Shabbat Hagadol. (Shabbat Hagadol, 1874)
12. 600,000 Egyptians died on this day:  Another miracle occurred on the Great Sabbath. It says in the verse: “To the One who struck Egypt with their firstborn.” This verse is explained that Egypt themselves beat each other on the great Sabbath, the tenth of the month. Yalkut Shimoni is quoted as follows: “When God sent the plague of the firstborns, he said: At midnight the firstborn will die, all the firstborns went to their fathers, and said to them: Don’t you want us to live? Let the Jews go if not we’re going to die! They answered them and said: Even if all the Egyptians are dead, the Jews can’t leave here. What did they do? All the firstborns entered Pharaoh's house, and they screamed at Pharaoh and said, “Please take out this people, from which evil will come upon us and you.” He said to his servants: “Go out and break their shins.” What did the firstborns do? “They took a sword and killed their fathers. It doesn’t say to the one who smote their firstborn, it says ‘to smite Egypt with their firstborn’ meaning that the firstborn smote Egypt.  The firstborn Egyptians killed 600,000 of their fathers.” This is another miracle that occurred on the Great Sabbath.
13. The Prosecuting complaint was removed from Israel and the redemption became possible:  The Pri Tzadik asks why the Egyptian firstborns killing their parents was called “a great miracle” and asked: for G-d nothing is difficult? The Pri Tzadik answers: “In the verse: “I have given Egypt as your atonement … and I will place men beneath you and nations instead of your soul.” He explains: “When there is a complaint in heaven against Israel, God forbid, the Lord grants a ransom for them from the nations of the world. We find that the Egyptians were given as ransom, which is what the firstborns did to their fathers … And in the Midrash it is written that 600,000 fathers were killed by the firstborns. That was the same number as the Israelite men, 600,000, because it was a payment for Israel which removed the complaint.”
14. “Shabbat Hagadol” is like a “Bar Mitzvah”: On that Shabbat, Israel was commanded to perform their first commandment. Just as a when child receives the yoke of the mitzvoth, a Bar Mitzva, he is called a Gadol, having reached majority when he receives a special soul from heaven; so too on Shabbos Hagadol, Israel fulfilled the command, “Draw and take for you” – draw your hands from idolatry. That’s why the Shabbat is also called Gadol. (Sefat Emet)
15. “Shabbat ha-Gadol” is like”Kohen Gadol’: The Shem MiShemuel compares “the great Sabbath” to “the high priest,” and says that just as the High Priest is called “gadol” due to his great holiness that spreads over his body; So too Israel risked their lives to take the Passover lamb, and through that  “spread the spiritual force also on their bodies sanctifying it with the holiness of the soul. This is what later drew them to the Almighty without any barriers, as it is written (Jeremiah II) “I remembered the grace of your youth …your following after me in the wilderness.”  Thus sums up the Shem MiShmuel, and says, “This is why it is called Shabbos Hagadol.”


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