web analytics
April 21, 2015 / 2 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

What Is ‘Great’ About Shabbos Hagadol?

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

This Shabbos, the Shabbos preceding Pesach, is known as Shabbos Hagadol. There are several reasons for this.

Tosafos, in Shabbos 87b (d”h ve’oso”) says the Shabbos is called great because a great miracle occurred on that day when the Jews were in Mitzrayim. According to the Midrash Rabbah on Parshas Bo (cited by Tosafos): On that Shabbos, when the Jews took lambs for their korbanos Pesachim, the firstborn Mitzriyim asked them what they were doing and why. The Jews responded that they were going to slaughter the lambs as sacrifices to Hashem so the firstborn Mitzriyim would die. The firstborn Mitzriyim then pleaded to their fathers and Pharaoh to set the Jews free. When the request was denied, the firstborn waged war and killed many of their fellow Mitzriyim. This is the meaning of the pasuk we recite in Hallel gadol: “lemakeh Mitzrayim b’bechoreihem ki l’olam chasdo.”

The Maharshal suggests that Shabbos Hagadol got its name from its Haftarah, which includes a pasuk that refers to a day in the future that will be “gadol.” We anticipate this day, and therefore named the Shabbos after it.

The Kli Chemda quotes the Gaon Rav Yisroel Nasson, who suggests an explanation for the name Shabbos Hagadol but first states that his p’shat is only “b’derech tzachus” (a humorous parody).

He begins with the following midrash: While Moshe Rabbeinu was still living in Pharaoh’s palace he managed to convince Pharaoh that the Jews should have one day off each week – Shabbos. The Tur (281) says this midrash explains the tefillah we recite in the Shabbos Shemoneh Esrei l’Shacharis: “yismach Moshe b’matnas chelko” – Moshe should rejoice with his lot. It refers to Moshe picking the day that Hashem ultimately chose as the day of rest: Shabbos.

Based on this midrash, Rav Yisroel Nasson suggests the following. When Bnei Yisrael were in Mitzrayim they were considered Bnei Noach. Although they kept certain mitzvos, they only did so as a stringency. One difference between Bnei Yisrael and Bnei Noach is that shiurim only apply to Bnei Yisrael. For example, only Bnei Yisrael are liable for eating a k’zayis worth of forbidden food while Bnei Noach are liable for eating any amount. Several Acharonim opine that since the age when one becomes bar mitzvah is also a shuir, it too only applies to Bnei Yisrael. Bnei Noach, on the other hand, are liable for their actions as soon as they become aware of what they are doing. Thus, in Mitzrayim, Bnei Yisrael were responsible for their actions before age 13.

But this changed on the Shabbos before they left Mitzrayim, for then they were commanded to fulfill the mitzvah of korban Pesach, and we know that no non-Jew may sacrifice a korban Pesach. Hence, the Jews’ status must have changed from Bnei Noach to Bnei Yisrael. If so, this was the Shabbos when Bnei Yisrael became responsible for their actions only after the age of 13. The Shabbos became known as Shabbos Hagadol, therefore, because it was on this Shabbos that only gedolim were responsible for their actions.

Not all Acharonim agree, however, that Bnei Noach are responsible for their actions before 13. The Kiryas Sefer differentiates between two types of shiurim. One type is a measurement of how much of a certain thing is required, i.e. a k’zayis or a prutah. If one eats a half k’zayis of pig he has eaten pig. He will not receive lashes because he did not eat a sufficient amount – but he has still eaten pig.

There is another type of shiur – an amount that creates a new entity or situation. Less than this shuir means “nothing” has happened. An example of this is techum Shabbos. The shuir of techum Shabbos is 2,000 amos. If one walks 1,000 amos out of the city, he has not violated half the prohibition. He has done nothing wrong. Until one walks the entire shiur of 2,000 amos there is no techum involved whatsoever.

About the Author: For questions or comments, e-mail RabbiRFuchs@gmail.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “What Is ‘Great’ About Shabbos Hagadol?

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Rav Aharon Lichtenstein
My Encounter with Rav Lichtenstein
Latest Judaism Stories
Torah scroll. (illustrative only)

For humans, reducing flesh is generally a good thing whereas its expansion is generally a bad thing

Hertzberg-041715

Lincoln was not a perfect man. But he rose above his imperfections to do what he thought was right not matter the obstacles.

Arch of Titus

Adon Olam: An Erev Shabbat Musical Interlude Courtesy of David Herman

Daf-Yomi-logo

Oh My, It’s Copper!
‘…And One Who Is A Coppersmith’
(Kethubboth 77a)

The omer sacrifice of loose barley flour was more fitting for animal consumption than human consumption and symbolizes the depths to which the Jewish slaves had sunk.

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

When Chazal call not eating treif food a chok, that refers to how it functions.

His mother called “Yoni, Yoni!” Her eyes, a moment earlier dark with pain, shone with joy and hope

Kashrut reminds us that in the end, God is the arbiter of right and wrong.

In a cab with Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach & Rav Elayshiv discussing if/when to say tefillas haderech

The successful student listens more than speaks out; wants his ideas critiqued, not just appreciated

Why would it not be sufficient to simply state lehoros from which we derive that in such a state one may not issue any psak?

What do we learn about overcoming loss from the argument between Moses and Aaron’s remaining 2 sons?

Each of the unique roles attributed to Moshe share the common theme that they require of and grant higher sanctity to the individual filling the role.

Because of the way the piece of my finger had been severed, the doctors at the hospital were not able to reattach it. They told me I’d have to see a specialist.

“The problem is that the sum total is listed is $17,000. However, when you add the sums mentioned, it is clear that the total of $17,000 is an error. Thus, Mr. Broyer owes me $18,000, not $17,000.”

More Articles from Rabbi Raphael Fuchs
Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

Why would it not be sufficient to simply state lehoros from which we derive that in such a state one may not issue any psak?

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

The Netziv answered that there is a difference between a piece of bread that was cut already in front of you, and one that was cut from beforehand.

Why is it necessary to invite people to eat from the korban Pesach?

The Ran asks why the Gemara concludes that since we are unsure which two of the four we must recline for, that we must recline for all four.

The Chasam Sofer answers that one of only prohibited from wearing a garment that contains shatnez if he does so while wearing the garment for pleasure purposes.

The Aruch Laner asks: How can Rashi say that the third Beis Hamikdash will descend as fire from heaven when every Jew prays several times a day for the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash?

The Ohr Hachayim rules that one may not manipulate the system; rather he must state his opinion as he see the ruling in the case; not as he would like the outcome of the verdict to become.

He suggests that the general admonition only dictates that a father may not actively enable his son to perform an aveirah.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/what-is-great-about-shabbos-hagadol/2014/04/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: