This is Shabbat HaGadol. What I like best is not why we call it Shabbat HaGadol, but what tradition asks us to do on it. The Pesach Seder is so important on so many levels that we make sure that we at least use the Shabbat beforehand to think about it. It is our custom to actually review the Haggadah on the Shabbat before the Sedarim.
The essence of Pesach and of the Seder, is to see ourselves as though each of us personally came out of Egypt. This is our story and how we came to be.
When you plan a trip, do you go on line and check out interesting places to visit? Do you ever purchase a travel book, investigate the customs, temperature, activities and adventure opportunities there? Ever ask your kids to go on line to pick some places or activities? Do you think about what you will pack, maybe buy new clothes for the trip? If a foreign language is being spoken there, will you find a glossary of important terms?
Isn’t it true that we prepare to make the trip fun and exciting for ourselves and our families? Of course it is. As parents and grandparents, we are in the memory making business and we want to create the most meaningful memories for our children and grandchildren.
The Passover Seder is a very real spiritual journey. How will you prepare for it? What will you do to create deep, positive and meaningful memories for yourself and your family? Will you just be jumping on the plane in your pajamas with no suitcase and no plans. Are you going to go on a weeklong journey and just wing it? Will you spend more time thinking about Spring Break than the Passover Seder? If you are not leading your own Seder, how might you be able to help the leader? Have you offered?
We have the famous Four Questions. A question I never want to be asked is, “How Come You Did Not Really Try to Make This Night Different From All Other Nights” or worse, that as a result of our not giving this spiritual journey our best effort, our grandchildren are not even at a Seder to ask a question.
Don’t ask why it is called Shabbat HaGadol. Rather, ask what you can do to make sure it is and do it!
Torah Study starts at 10:00 a.m. Rabbi Aaron Bergman will be leading us examining the overall theme of how God and Moses prepare a group of demoralized slaves become a sacred nation of free people. Just think how that can help inform your Seder.
P.S. If you want to know more of the reasons we call it Shabbat HaGadol, here is a helpful link. If you want to learn more about making your Sedarim interesting and meaningful just go on line. There are more resources than you can imagine and opportunities to last a lifetime.