SHABBAT SERMON APRIL 12th Shabbat Hagadol - PREPARATION FOR PASSOVER Parsha Metzora
Rabbi Moshe P. Weisblum
I would like to share a family story with you this morning. I assume you all know the famous custom that when the father comes to the synagogue and then walks home chanting a special melody that is a greeting to the angels. We believe that there are angels that escort us from the synagogue back to our homes. In the first stanza of the melody we welcome the angels, who will help us with the preparation of the Shabbat table.
When I was a boy, I went to my grandfather’s in Jerusalem. I noticed a very strange custom: when he would come back from the synagogue and walk into the house, he would look at the floor, saying to my Grandmother, "The floor looks so beautiful, so shiny, it looks like you cleaned it beautifully." Then he would look at the Shabbat table, saying, "Look, Leah, the Shabbat table is so beautiful, you made it look so inviting. All the plates, papers and all the preparations look wonderful. I really appreciate all of your hard work." Then he went to the kitchen, with all the grandchildren following, he approached the stove, looking at all the food simmering invitingly. "The food looks and smells delicious. Dear, we appreciate your arduous efforts, all the hours of work that you put into making this event so beautiful and memorable for us." After that, he turned and was about to begin chanting, so I said to him, "Papa, I don’t understand this, I remember that first we have to greet the angels when you walk into your house." He looked at me and smiled, "Don’t worry, the angels can wait a little bit, we have to thank Grandmother first."
Today is called Shabbat Hagadol, meaning "Great Sabbath." Many rabbis teach us that it was a great miracle that happened to us just before the liberation from Egypt. But my interpretation is that wehave to do "great." Meaning we have to take a moment before Passover Seder to sincerely express our very deep gratitude to our wives, our mothers who have worked so hard to prepare the home and the car. Or to run after the rabbi with questions, purchase special foods, and cook…these are the most important and hardest efforts that our wives, mothers and grandmothers put forth for our benefit. We really need to take a moment and express our gratitude, our appreciation to them.
Shabbat Hagadol makes me think of the really great efforts that each one of us and our children and children’s children will make to take a moment to express the great appreciation for the women that make all of this possible. This is an important lesson that I learned from my grandfather. The goal of Passover is to teach our children the story. In order for them to be educated, first they have to learn the lesson of appreciation, and thanksgiving.
Wishing you and yours, a happy and healthy Passover. Shabbat Shalom.