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An egalitarian Conservative congregation serving the diverse Orange County Jewish Community

Torah: Shabbat HaGadol

Torah: This Shabbat, the last before Pesech, is called “Shabbat HaGadol,” the great Sabbath. The title is taken from the haftorah of the prophet Malachi, who states that the prophet Elijah will herald the final “great day of the Lord,” a day of judgment that will lead to the Messianic Era. We are a Messiah obsessed people. Each time that we pray the amidah prayer, the centerpiece of our three-times-a-day traditional worship, we outline the steps that God will need to take to heal the world. As God is Creator, we essentially ask God to complete the job. Likewise, our Passover seder is Messianic focused. We place a cup for Elijah and open the door with the encouragement to join us. We are ready. If God could redeem us from slavery, the seder offers the hope that God will bring a final redemption, a time of peace for all peoples. As a religious people, our tale of slave origins both sensitizes us to the plight of those who are weak and lack freedom and offers hope. But more than hope, the Passover seder instills responsibility. It is our duty and opportunity to partner to effect a healing in the world. Worthy of Seder discussion: What parts do we play in healing the world?