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The Great Shabbat

The Shabbat before Passover is known as the “Great Shabbat,” after the great miracle that occurred: When the Jewish people prepared a lamb for the Paschal offering and told their neighbors that G-d planned to strike the Egyptian firstborn, a fight broke out between the Egyptian firstborn—who wanted to release the Jews—and the rest of Egypt, who did not want to let them go. The Egyptians were also angered that the Jews were planning to sacrifice their idol, the sheep. Egypt broke down into civil war with casualties on both sides—while the Jewish people prepared the Paschal offering unmolested.

In contrast to other miracles that the Jewish people experienced, this miracle is not set according to a date on the calendar but on the Shabbat before Passover. The reason for this is that the greatness of this miracle relates to the holiness of Shabbat: Shabbat represents peace and respite from all possible disturbance. Shabbat is a foretaste of the World to Come, when G-d will remove the power of evil from the earth and no force will be able to get in our way.

The eradication of all forces of evil can come in two forms: Either it is completely wiped out, or it is transformed so it is no longer destructive. The latter method is superior to the former, because the energy of the evil can be utilized for good.

This was the type of miracle we experienced on the Great Shabbat: the Egyptians themselves fought one another and thus protected the Jews, allowing them to perform their mitzvot in peace.

In our days as well we can experience a state of utter peace with no external disturbance to our divine service—through dedicating ourselves completely to G-d. Our forefathers in Egypt were redeemed only after they showed self-sacrifice and took the Egyptian idol as an offering despite the risks involved. So to now, we must display strength and fortitude to overcome the final challenges of exile, and then we will merit the final Redemption.

(Likutei Sichot vol. 17, p. 57)

 

 


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