Receive weekly insights from the Chief Rabbi
Office of the Chief Rabbi

Shabbat HaGadol: Will this Shabbat be the greatest of them all?

Share this article:


Will this Shabbat be the greatest of them all?

It’s called ‘Shabbat HaGadol’ – ‘The great Sabath’ and it always takes place on the Shabbat prior to our celebration of the festival of Pesach.

Now, as we know, there are many reasons presented by our commentators, for why we name this Shabbat, ‘HaGadol’. But I would like to make the following suggestion:

The lead up to Pesach is momentous. In fact, most households start straight after Purim, we have an entire month of anticipation.

There is so much to prepare, so much cleaning to be done, so much learning to engage in and then eventually the great night of the Seder arrives.

It is an extraordinary time for family and for community, it is one of the greatest moments on the Jewish calendar.

However, when it comes to seasonal or occasional commitment to Jewish values and practise, that’s lovely and important, but if we want to guarantee our Jewish continuity, we need to engage in consistent, daily and weekly commitment.

Therefore, right before Pesach we make a statement, ‘Shabbat HaGadol’ – it is Shabbat which is the greatest! It is a symbol our ongoing commitment, week in and week out, to our Jewish values and way of life.

So therefore, yes, this Shabbat is the greatest of them all – and so is every other Shabbat in the year – because ultimately it is our regular, consistent observance which counts the most.

Shabbat Shalom.

Printable Transcript.