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April 10, 1987 - Image 35

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-04-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Great Sabbath Heralds
Passover, Commitment

RABBI IRWIN GRONER

Special to The Jewish News

T

he several Sabbaths
preceding Passover
are like a corridor
through which we pass before
entering the inner court of
the festival itself. They are
akin to the tuning-up that
precedes the great symphony,
as the orchestra readies itself
for a disciplined and stirring
performance. Experiencing
the ideal of freedom requires
preparation and training.
First is Shekalim, the as-
sumption of shared commit-
ment; then Parah, the quest
for spiritual purity;
Hachodesh, the reminder of
the sacrifice that freedom re-
quires; and now Shabbat
Hagadol, the Great Sabbath,
immediately before the holi-
day.
Why the designation of this
Sabbath as the "Great Sab-
bath?" Commentators explain
that at the morning service,

Shabbat Hagadol:
Leviticus 6:1-8:36;
Malachai 3:424.

we read from the Prophet
Malachi, "Lo, I will send the
Prophet Elijah to you before
the coming of the great, awe-
some day of the Lord." Elijah
will reconcile the genera-
tions. Parents will be re-
united with the children,
children will be rejoined in
spirit with their elders. One
of the fundamental elements
in the observance of Passover
is the Seder table at which
the generations are joined in
mutual love and respect,
sharing in a dialogue that re-
counts the story of the
exodus.
These weeks in the Jewish
calendar all convey one fun-
damental truth: nothing of
lasting good can happen
without preparation for it.
Preparation is the foundation
of any solid structure, else it
is doomed to destruction.
A good architect spends
many days on a blueprint
even before the first shovel is
turned in the ground. A good
teacher spends the major por-
tion of his time in studying,
and a far smaller share in
teaching. A good boxer
spends months in training,
and minutes in actual combat
with his adversary. A good
writer sends many pages to
the waste basket before he
submits a chapter to his pub-
lisher.

Irwin Groner is senior rabbi
at Cong. Shaarey Zedek.

The great achievements of
the Jewish people were the
result of long and laborious
preparation. Monotheism it-
self went through the cruci-
ble of defection, betrayal,
reaffirmation, retrogression
and, finally, universal loyalty
between the days of Moses
until Ezekiel, when it
achieved its final triumph.
The biblical period extended
for almost 900 years during

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What is true of Passover is
no less true of our tradition.
Judaism can be reached by
no shortcut. A love of
Judaism and appreciation of
the wealth of our heritage
and its noble beauty have to
be acquired slowly, carefully,
in regular daily doses —
"When you walk by the way,
when you lie down, and when
you rise up."

Attention is being focused
now on leaders of the Chris-
tian world, well known
evangelists, who address
television audiences of mil-
lions. They preach a religion
that emphasizes transforming
religious experiences. The
Jewish faith does not present
its message in such a
medium. The reason is we do
not place our emphasis on
"spontaneous spiritual com-
bustion."

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which the word of God was
revealed to the Prophets of
Israel, and finally inscribed
upon the hearts of the Jewish
people. The Talmud was the
product of another 900 years
of brilliant and prodigious
Jewish scholarship.
The fifth of Iyar, 5708,
corresponding to the 14th of
May, 1948, is the Indepen-
dence Day of the State of Is-
rael. Nineteen hundred years
of longing and commitment
to the dream of Zion made
that day possible, and
throughout that long stretch
of time, Israel in its very
exile, was on the road to
Jerusalem.
This is the lesson of Shab-
bat Hagadol, for Pesach can
be no greater than Erev
Pesach; freedom can be no
more tangible than the eve in
which it was conceived. The
period of preparation for the
exodus involved blood and
hail, storm and darkness and
death. Without these, there
could have been no exodus. A
journey of a few short days
from Egypt to Canaan was
extended into an odyssey of
40 long years before the chil-
dren of Israel were ready for
the Promised Land.
Pesach, itself, requires
many days of preparation.

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