27 Mar Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Parashat Tzav – Shabbat HaGadol
This Shabbat we read from Parashat Tzav as well as mark Shababt HaGadol, the Shabbat that comes immediately preceding the festival of Pesach. While Shabbat HaGadol is certainly a “special” Shabbat before Pesach, it is not one of the “four special Shabbatot before Pesach” because it does not have its own special maftir Aliyah, only a special haftarah read for the occasion. That special haftarah comes from the third chapter of the book of Malachi and connects to the ideas of Pesach in several ways, the most obvious of which is the phrase “Hinei Anochi Sholeiach Lachem et Eliyahu Hanavi – Behold I send to you Elijah the Prophet” (Chapter 3, verse 23). Towards the end of the Pesach seder we rise to sing “Eliyahu Hanavi” and open the door to invite Eliyahu to join us at our seder table. Knowing that God has been sending Eliyahu to Israelites and Jews throughout the centuries and millennia only serves to further our connection to our history and to the rituals of Pesach.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik