3/21/2013

Shabbat Tsav Shabbat HaGadol

Candles Friday 6:50pm
Havdalah 7:47 pm

The Shabbat before Pesach is always called Shabbat Hagadol, the Great Shabbat. Lots of different reasons are given. They range from the miracle in Egypt to the debate about whether Pesach should always be on a Shabbat, to Christian persecutions during Easter and on to the tradition of studying in preparation for the Seder.

If you look at the last line of the Haftarah however it this seems to me to be the original message. It comes from the Prophet Malachi:
“I am going to send Eliyahu the prophet before that great and awesome day when he will reconcile fathers to sons and sons to fathers.”
Pesach is a time of redemption. This may come from Divine Intervention but it may also come from our own efforts.Just as Pesach in Egypt was the redemption of the people and this led to our identity and security as a free people, so too one day our people will again be reconciled and united and live in peace without threats and hatred swirling around us. And this is the great message of Pesach for us. Whether it is on a personal or a national level, if we remain enslaved and crippled by needless hatred or a failure of relationships we will be unable to reach our maximum potential or find true peace. Shabbat HaGadol reminds us of this vital need for reconciliation even before we sit down to enjoy the Seder.

Shabbat Shalom and Pesach Sameach.

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TIME TABLE FOR PESACH 2013:

March 25th to April 2nd

Monday March 25 Erev Pesach (Stop eating Hametz by 10:18 am & burn by 11:28 am)

Candles 6.53 pm First Seder after 7.30pm

Tuesday March 26 First Day Shacharit 9:30am

Candles 7.49 pm Second Seder after 7:45pm

Wednesday March 27 Second Day Shacharit 9:30am

Havdalah & Ends 7.50pm

Friday March 29 - Shabbat Hol Hamoed Pesach Candles 6:59pm

Shabbat March 30 Shacharit 9:30am

Sunday, March 31 Candle Lighting 6:59 pm

Monday, April 1 Seventh Day of Pesach Shahrit 9:30 am

Candle Lighting after 7:56 pm

Tuesday, April 2 Eighth Day of Pesach Shacharit 9:30am

Havdalah Festival ends 7:57 pm.

3/15/2013

Shabbat Vayikra

Candles Friday 6:43pm
Havdalah 7:39pm

Vayikra is the Book of the Torah that goes into greatest detail about the sacrifices that we no longer perform. Nevertheless as with everything else in the Torah there are lessons we can learn that are as relevant today as they were thousands of years ago.

Amongst the many different kinds of sacrifices there was the Chata’at the Sin Offering. If one had done something wrong the first thing one had to do was to confess, Vidui. Not to a priest but directly to God. Only then could one proceed with the atonement. And this is why on Yom Kipur we have all those poetic confessions written into the prayerbook to help jog our memories and perhaps remind us of mistakes we may have made.

Actually confessing nowadays is something we tend to do to our therapists or our psychologists. And the aim is the same. Only by admitting or as they say "owning" up to one's mistakes can one hope to put things right. Consider how amazing this is. Freud’s great discovery of psychoanalysis is barely a hundred years old. Yet here three thousand years ago the Torah encourages us to express ourselves, to talk out the problem, to use God as a therapist in space, for free!

Shabbat Shalom.