Shabbat HaGadol

The Shabbat preceding the Passover festival is called Shabbat HaGadol the Great Shabbat, in commemoration of the great miracle that occurred on the Shabbat preceding the exodus from Egypt. It is based on the tradition that when God ordered the people of Israel to prepare a lamb on the tenth of Aviv for the paschal offering, the Egyptians were paralyzed with fear and could not prevent the offering of this animal which was the symbol of the Egyptian deity.

Another explanation of the name is from the Haftarah which ends with the words: "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of Yehovah. He will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers." (Malachi 4:5-6)


"And when the hour had come He reclined at the table and the Moshiach's Shluchim were with Him. And He said to them, "With great longing I have desired to eat this Pesach with you before I suffer. For I say to you that I may by no means eat it until it is fulfilled in the Malchut Hashem." And having taken the Cup of Redemption, having made the bracha, He said, "Take this and share it among yourselves, for I say to you that from now on by no means shall I drink from the pri hagefen until the Malchut Hashem comes." And having taken the Afikoman and having made the ha-Motzi, He broke the matzah and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body being given for you; this do in remembrance of Me." And He took the cup similarly after they ate, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, being shed for you." Luke 22:14-20

One thing Yeshua asks us to do. That is to remember the Passover. Yeshua said, 'Do this in remembrance of Me' and that “this” means Passover. He said, 'Until I come do the Passover in remembrance of Me,' because after He comes He will have fulfilled Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot, then we will do that in remembrance of Him. But until He comes again what we will do in remembrance of Him is Passover, or the Lord's table. Because that is what He had fulfilled for us, as the sacrificial Lamb of God. Therefore, Yeshua only asks us to do one thing until He comes, and that is to proclaim His death through Passover.

Now in order to prepare for the Passover we have to search for 'chometz,' for leaven in our heart and to get it out of our lives. And leaven in Scripture is always symbolic of sin; sin that has to be searched for and has to be eliminated from our hearts. We have our hearts clean but maybe we overlook the little crumbs in dark corners. Why is sin associated with leaven? Because just as a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough, so too a little sin can spread and ruin our lives. Leaven makes the dough rise, therefore it can be said that arrogance, to be puffed up, to be self centered, is the worst sin of all.

That was the case in Corinth, so Rav Sha'ul says in chapter 5, verse 7: “Clean out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened [in God's eyes]. For Messiah our Passover [Lamb] also has been sacrificed.“ What he is saying to us is: search for chometz, clean out the old leaven because Messiah our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed, and he continues in verse 8: ”Let us therefore celebrate the feast not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread [the matzah] of sincerity and truth.“

Let's search for chometz in our lives, let's clean our hearts and be clean, and may this Passover feast be celebrated with a true Messianic spirit and joy.