Vol 37.02 - Shabbat HaGadol Spanish French Audio Video
|Hebrew Text: Mikraot Gedolot-Shmot|
The difference between the Tur (chapter 430) and the opinion of the Baalei Tosafot (Da'at Zekeinim mBaalei HaTosafot - Parshat Bo 12:3) in the boundary of Shabbat HaGadol.
The innovation of the Alter Rebbe in Shulcah Aruch (ibid) in the description of the miiracle of Shabbat HaGadol that it is considered the beginning of the exodus from Egypt
The conection to the theme of Shabbat and the difference in Halacha between the customs of Shabbat HaGadol.
The advantage of the miracle of Shabbat HaGadol evn over the miracle of the exodus from Egypt.
1.The Tur (chapter 430) writes:
“The Shabbat before Pesach is called Shabbat HaGadol and the reason is because of the Great Miracle which occurred then, for on the 10th day of Nisan (the sheep for) the Pesach offering was taken . . The Pesach that the Israelites left Mitzrayim was on a Thursday. Thus, the tenth of the month was Shabbat and each one took a sheep and set it aside for his Pesach offering and tied it to the foot of his bed. When the Egyptians asked them "What is this to you?" They replied: “in order to slaughter it as a Pesach offering in accordance with the commandment of G-d to us. Their (the Egyptians) teeth were set on edge (they were extremely agitated by this) because they (the Israelites ) were going to slaughter (the sheep who was) their deity. Yet, they were unable to say anything to the Israelites. And because of that Miracle which occurred, they called it Shabbat HaGadol.
Another explanation is cited by our rabbis the Baalei Tosafot. But there it states:
“When the Egyptians saw that they were taking (the sheep for) the Pesach offering, they (the Egyptians) gathered together to kill them (the Israelites) because the deity of the Egyptians were beasts (beheimot). Yet G-d performed a miracle and they (the Israelites) were rescued. Therefore it is called Shabbat HaGadol because of the great (gadol/godal) miracle.”
And from the books of the beis medrash (academy) of Rashi it states:
“The taking of the Pesach offering on the tenth day was the Shabbat before Pesach (the fourteenth). The Israelites said: “Could we slaughter the abomination (i.e. the sheep who was their deity) before their (the Egyptians') eyes and not get killed?” (yiskilunu). G-d answered them: “Now you will see the wonder that I will perform for you”. They went and each man took his Pesach offering to be a mishmeret (watch, responsibility) for them until the fourteenth.”
It appears that the Tur’s intent with this wording, is to emphasize that the reason that this is called Shabbat HaGadol is not because of the miraculous rescue of Bnei Yisroel. But rather, because the Egyptians were not able to prevent them from fulfilling their Mitzvah. For when the Bnei Yisroel were steadfast and had self-sacrifice (mesirat nefesh) in order to fulfill G-d’s Mitzvot , without considering the danger therein, and so much so, that they explicitly replied to the Egyptians that the taking of the sheep was in order to: “slaughter it as a Pesach offering in accordance with the commandment of G-d to us” – this effected that a “Great Miracle” was done for them. For even though their (the Egyptians) teeth were set on edge because they (the Israelites ) were going to slaughter their deity. Yet, they were” unable to say anything to the Israelites”.
And one could say that the reason that the Tur cited just this part of the miracle,
and did not cite it the way it is cited by our rabbis, the Baalei Tosafot , (and by most of the Rishonim and Acharonim) namely, that the miracle was because they were saved etc.
– is because the miracle of the salvation is included in the (general) miracles and wonders associated with the going out and the geulah (redemption) from Mitzrayim. As it states: “And G-d brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm” etc ,” and with signs and wonders. (Deut. 26:8)”.
And just as, (for example), they did not establish a special memorial for the Ten Plagues that were brought down on the Egyptians, or for the miracles and salvation that G-d did for the Bnei Yisroel (“ and G-d singled you etc ) because they are a part and portion of the miracles and wonders associated with the going out from Mitzrayim, so too, is it in our case, there is no reason to establish a memorial on a specific day (in other words, on a different day than the fifteenth of Nisan) dedicated to the salvation of Bnei Yisroel in conjunction with the Pesach offering and the redemption from Egypt.
And regarding the Baalei Tosafot (and the aforementioned books of Rashi), one could say that Shabbat HaGadol is not an item that is connected to specific laws or customs related to the miracle. Rather it is just an appellation: “they called it Shabbat HaGadol”. And this is possible also for any miracle that is related to the Geulah and redemption from Egypt, in general.
And one could say that the reason that specifically the miracle of Shabbat HaGadol was established with a name – is like the wording (nusach) cited by many of the Poskim (codifiers), which is: “When the Egyptians saw this (namely, that they were taking their deity), each (of the Egyptians) girded his sword on his thigh and sought to destroy and kill all the Israelites (yehudim). Yet G-d, in His mercy, protected them”. For since the subject is about a miracle of a very great salvation, it is proper, at the least, to especially memorialize it by assigning it the name: the day of the great Shabbat (Shabbat HaGadol)
And the explanation of the Tur is also similar to this, that the entire distinction of Shabbat HaGadol is only in regards as to it having a name. And this is like the aforementioned, that according to his opinion, the aspect of Shabbat HaGadol is not a memorial for the salvation of Yisroel, but rather a remembrance that Bnei Yisroel were able to fulfill G-d’s Mitzvot , without hindrances and obstacles.
3. The Alter Rebbe in (his) Shulchan Aruch cites this description: “Great miracle (neis gadol)” in an additional manner (in accordance with what Tosafot writes in tractate Shabbat). He writes:
“When the Israelites set aside their paschal lamb on that Shabbat, the first-born of the Mitzrayim gathered near the Israelites and asked them why they were doing this. They replied: “This is a Pesach offering to G-d who will kill the firstborn Egyptians.” They (the firstborn) went to their fathers and to Pharaoh to request that they grant permission to send the Jewish people free – but they refused. The first-born then waged a war against them (their compatriots) and many of them (the Egyptians) were killed. This is the meaning of the verse (Psalms 136:10): “Who struck Egypt through its first born”.
This requires explanation, for according to this description, there does not appear to be a sufficient explanation as to what was the purpose and greatness of this miracle. For he does not connect the miracle with the salvation of Bnei Yisroel?
(since he does not cite the words of Bnei Yisroel that were about to slaughter their (the Egyptians) deity, and because of which, the first-born of the Mitzrayim wanted to take revenge on them (Bnei Yisroel), yet they were saved).
(In fact) at first glance, this just appears to be a chronicle of strife and war between the Egyptians and their first-born.
It is seemingly impossible to explain the words of the Alter Rebbe according to the aforementioned explanation of the Tur. Namely that the main miracle, in our case, was the ability to fulfill G-d’s commandments.
(Yet, the Alter Rebbe) is in accordance with a ruling of Rambam that: “Moshe Rabbeinu commanded, at the direction of G-d, to force all humanity to accept the commandments that the Bnei Noach (all non-Jews as descendants of Noah) were charged with”
From this, it is understood that part of the mission of Bnei Yisroel is to effect that Bnei Noach fulfill all the deeds (peulot) that they were commanded by G-d to do. (So much so, that we are commanded to kill: “an idol-worshipper (Acum) that does not accept the commandements that Bnei Noach were charged with”)
Accordingly, one could also say, in our case, that the miracle of: “Who struck Egypt through its first born”
which entailed that “They (the firstborn) went to their fathers and to Pharaoh to request that they grant permission to send the Jewish people free (thus fulfilling G-d’s commandment: “Send forth My people”) – but they refused. And the first-born then waged a war against them and many of them (the Egyptians) were killed.”
was (actually) an issue that concerned the Israelites.
In other words, the statement of Bnei Yisroel to the firstborn of Egypt: “This is a Pesach offering to G-d who will kill the firstborn Egyptians.” has an element of endeavoring to force them (at least with words) to fulfill G-d’s commandment: “Send forth My people”
But this is not sufficient:
For notwithstanding that this thing that Moshe Rabbeinu commanded,
at the direction of G-d, to force all humanity (to accept the commandments that the Bnei Noach were charged with)
was innovated at the time of Matan Torah, one still needs to understand:
If one wants to infer that according to the opinion of the Alter Rebbe, the main miracle was the ability to fulfill G-d’s commandments, then he definitely should have (first) cited the words of the Tur,
For they explain that Bnei Yisroel actually fulfilled: “the commandment of G-d to us” in order to slaughter it as a Pesach offering and they (the Egyptians) were unable to prevent them (from doing so).
And (afterwards) add that:
And especially since whatever is elaborated concerning the miracles that occurred on that Shabbat, more explains the reason that it is called the great Shabbat
4 This (all) is understood by prefacing the words of the Alter Rebbe that follow (his aforementioned) words in his Shulchan Aruch there:
“We are accustomed in these countries that on Shabbat HaGadol at Mincha, we do not say “Borchi Nafshi”, but rather we read: (part of the Passover Haggadah beginning from the paragraph that begins with the words) “Avadim hayinu" etc. because Shabbat HaGadol was the beginning of the Geulah and the miracles”
This, seemingly, requires explanation:
Why were the occurrences of Shabbat HaGadol called: “the beginning of the Geulah and the miracles”? This, seemingly, was just another miracle in conjunction with the exodus from Egypt”. Also, there already occurred, before this, all the miracles that G-d brought upon the Egyptians. (In addition) the beginning of the Geulah was, seemingly, Rosh Hashanah of that year since at that time: “the slavery of our fathers in Mitzrayim ended (batla)”?
One could say that the intent of the Alter Rebbe is that the miracle of Shabbat HaGadol is considered the beginning of the actual going out of Egypt.
(And the mention of “miracles” refers to the miracle that are associated with the actual going out of Egypt)
In other words, the greatness of Shabbat HaGadol is not (only) that they killed many Egyptians (as it states: “Who struck Egypt through its first born”). But mainly in that the firstborn demanded that “they send out the Jewish people”. So much so, that the first born then waged war against them (the Egyptians)”. And because of this miracle it is considered the beginning of the going out of Egypt.
According to this, there is a main innovation (chidush) in this reason (for Shabbat HaGadol) over the reason of the Tur and also the reason of the Baalei Tosafot –
And this is also the reflected in the precise “title” (koseres) of this chapter (siman) in the Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch – “The custom of Shabbat HaGadol”, which does not exist in the Shulchan Aruch of the Mechaber (Note: a reference to R’ Karo, the author of the original Shulchan Aruch). (For in that Shulchan Aruch there is no title at all to this chapter)
In the Mechaber, it just cites that the day of this Shabbat “is called Shabbat HaGadol” – just (that it has) an appellation, and he does not cite any special custom for this Shabbat. This is because according to the reason of the Tur and the Baalei Tosafot, it is not fitting to enact special customs for this Shabbat (as mentioned above in paragraph 2)
However, according to the Alter Rebbe, that even this is the beginning of Geulah and the miracle , there is a “custom of Shabbat HaGadol”, that “we begin to say on this Shabbat “Avadim hayinu” (like we say on the night of the fifteenth of Nisan (the seder))
And this fits, in general (bPashtus), with the reason that the Alter Rebbe only cites the reason of Tosafot and not that of the Tur, at all.
Because only this reason explains the “custom of Shabbat HaGadol”.
According to this explanation in the words of the Alter Rebbe, there is another aspect of “ Shabbat HaGadol “that fits.
“They established this miracle as an everlasting remembrance on Shabbat . . .not simply on the tenth of the month, whether it falls on Shabbat or on a weekday like they established all the other holidays”
For the Alter Rebbe in his Shulchan Aruch cites the answer of the Magen Avrohom that:
“Because on the tenth of Nisan, Miriam passed away and they established that day as a fast day when it occurred on a weekday” (And also “We recite many things, whose topic relates to a side issues and does not have a connection to the miracle “)
Yet, since all aspects of Torah are quintessentially precise, it is logical to say that since they established the memorial of the miracle on Shabbat there is also a connection to the theme of Shabbat.
The name “ Shabbat HaGadol “ infers that even this effects a “greatness” in the aspect of Shabbat itself, that the day of Shabbat itself becomes “great”.
The explanation is:
There are two reasons in the Ten Ccommandments concerning resting on Shabbat:
Rambam explains (in Moreh Nevuchim) explains (the basis for) these two reasons:
And from the gist of this it is understood that there are two different reasons regarding Shabbat.
And one could explain the connection of the second aspect of Shabbat to the theme (tochan) of going out of Egypt:
From the confines of nature, the Bnei Yisroel are “the smallest of all the nations”, and they are under the rulership of the other nations (of the world). Therefore, there is no room for the concept of ‘going out of Egypt” (leaving exile).
(and specifically from the slavery of Mitzrayim, for even one slave was not able to escape from there)
Therefore the exodus from Egypt was an open miracle. above the confines of nature.
And this is the inner explanation of “Yetzias Mitzrayim” (the exodus from Egypt):
“Mitzrayim” represents the constriction and boundaries of the world. And through leaving (yetzia) Mitzrayim, the Bnei Yisroel were elevated above boundaries of the (constriction and boundaries of the) world.
6. Accordingly it follows that the essential difference between the reason of the Tur and the reason that the Alter Rebbe brings (from Tosafot) corresponds to the difference between the two aspects of Shabbat:
And from this one can understand the law (din) (in the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch ibid.) that:
We do not say “Borchi Nafshi”, but rather “we recite “Avadim hayinu"
which implies that the two are dependent upon each other.
Therefore, we do not say “Borchi Nafshi” but rather “Avadim hayinu". Because there is no place here to recount the greatness of G-d regarding Creation, when it openly emphasizes a greater quality (in an incomparable manner) - “(To remember) the Exodus from Mitzrayim” (which is above the “confines of the world”)
(And therefore, the Alter Rebbe does not mention, even as a side note, the reason of the Tur)
7. And one could say, that according to the wording (nussach) that the Alter Rebbe utilizes in his description of the miracle of Shabbat HaGadol, there is in this miracle an “advantage” even in regards to the miracle of the Exodus from Mitzrayim.
The Exodus from Mitzrayim was:
Yet the miracle of Shabbat HaGadol was:
Accordingly, one could mesh the reason of the Alter Rebbe with the reason that is cited in the commentators (seforim) that:
“We were accustomed from the days of old (mimei olam) to call the Shabbat before Pesach – Shabbat HaGadol, to publicize to everyone that there is a day afterwards that is close, and it appears that it too (that day) is also called Shabbat HaGadol – and this is that first Yom Tov of Pesach which is also called Shabbat”
According to the aforementioned, one could say that the reason that the first Yom Tov of Pesach is also called Shabbat, yet it is not as great as it(Shabbat HaGadol) is:
(not just because the sanctity of Pesach (Yom Tov) is lower than the sanctity of Shabbat, but)
because of the miracles in them.
For the miracle of the exodus from Egypt, which in actuality,is on the first day of Pesach, is not as great as the miracle of the Shabbat before that, where the Egyptians (themselves) demanded that Bnei Yisroel leave Egypt.
And therefore, the Shabbat before Pesach is called Shabbat HaGadol, for the aspect of (the remembrance of) the exodus from Egypt – which is completely above the confines of nature, is manifested to a greater degree in it (Shabbat HaGadol), even more than in the “Shabbat” of the first Yom Tov of Pesach
m’Sichas Shabbat HaGadol 5746
|Date Modified:||Date Reviewed:|