Newsletter Parashat Nitzavim – Shabbat Hagadol

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Shabbat Times

לוח זמני תפלה

Winter Timetable
5779 – 2018 / 19






סוף זמן קריאת שמע

זמן שבת

פלג המנחה


פלג המנחה (לבוש)

מנחה וקבלת שבת


שבת פרשת





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Mincha & Kabbalat Shabbat





















12/13 Apr

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& A on Parashat Metzora


  1. When may a metzora not be pronounced tahor?
    14:2 – At night.
  2. In the midbar, where did a metzora dwell while he was tamei?
    14:3 – Outside the three camps.
  3. Why does the metzora require birds in the purification process?
    14:4 – Tzara'at comes as a punishment for lashon hara. Therefore, the Torah requires the metzora to offer birds, who chatter constantly, to atone for his sin of chattering.
  4. In the purification process of a metzora, what does the cedar wood symbolize?
    14:4 – The cedar is a lofty tree. It alludes to the fact that tzara'at comes as a punishment for haughtiness.
  5. During the purification process, the metzora is required to shave his hair. Which hair must he shave?
    14:9 – Any visible collection of hair on the body.
  6. What is unique about the chatat and the asham offered by the metzora?
    14:10 – They require n'sachim (drink offerings).
  7. In the Beit Hamikdash, when the metzora was presented "before G-d" (14:11), where did he stand?
    14:11 – At the gate of Nikanor.
  8. Where was the asham of the metzora slaughtered?
    14:13 – On the northern side of the mizbe'ach.
  9. How was having tzara'at in one's house sometimes advantageous?
    14:34 – The Amorites concealed treasures in the walls of their houses. After the conquest of the Land, tzara'at would afflict these houses. The Jewish owner would tear down the house and find the treasures.
  10. When a house is suspected as having tzara'at, what is its status prior to the inspection by a kohen?
    14:36 – It is tahor.
  11. What happens to the vessels that are in a house found to have tzara'at?
    14:36 – They become tamei.
  12. Which type of vessels cannot be made tahor after they become tamei?
    14:36 – Earthenware vessels.
  13. Where were stones afflicted with tzara'at discarded?
    14:40 – In places where tahor objects were not handled
  14. When a house is suspected of having tzara'at, a kohen commands that the affected stones be replaced and the house plastered. What is the law if the tzara'at:
    1. returns and spreads;
    2. does not return;
    3. returns, but does not spread?
    1. 14:44-45 – It is called "tzara'at mam'eret," and the house must be demolished;
    2. 14:48 – the house is pronounced tahor;
    3. 14:44 – The house must be demolished.
  15. When a person enters a house that has tzara'at, when do his clothes become tamei?
    14:46 – When he remains in the house long enough to eat a small meal.
  16. What is the status of a man who is zav (sees a flow):
    1. two times or two consecutive days;
    2. three times or three consecutive days?

    15:2 –

    1. He is tamei;
    2. he is tamei and is also required to bring a korban.
  17. zav sat or slept on the following:
    1. a bed;
    2. a plank;
    3. a chair;
    4. a rock.

    If a tahor person touches these things what is his status?

    15:4-5 – Only a type of object that one usually lies or sits upon becomes a transmitter of tumah when a zav sits or lies on it. A tahor person who subsequently touches the object becomes tamei and the clothes he is wearing are also tmei'im. Therefore:

    1. tamei;
    2. tahor;
    3. tamei;
    4. tahor.
  18. What does the Torah mean when it refers to a zav who "has not washed his hands"?
    15:11 – One who has not immersed in a mikveh.
  19. When may a zav immerse in a mikveh to purify himself?
    15:13 – After seven consecutive days without a flow.
  20. What is the status of someone who experiences a one-time flow?
    15:32 – He is tamei until evening.



from Rabbi Eli Mansour

 Shabbat Hagadol

The Shabbat before Pesach is called "Shabbat
Hagadol," or "the Great Shabbat," a term that is generally
understood as a reference to the miracle that occurred in Egypt on the Shabbat
before Benei Yisrael's departure from Egypt. It was on that Shabbat, which fell
on the tenth of Nissan, that Benei Yisrael designated sheep for the Korban
Pesach (paschal offering) and tied them to their bedposts. The Egyptians
inquired as to the purpose behind this designation of sheep, which the
Egyptians worshipped as a pagan deity, and Benei Yisrael explained that they
prepared the sheep for a sacrificial offering to God. Despite this grave insult
to their deity, the Egyptians were powerless to oppose Benei Yisrael. They were
miraculously struck by a disease that required them to regularly visit the
restroom, thus impairing their ability to cause any harm to Benei Yisrael.

In commemoration of this great miracle that occurred on the Shabbat before
Pesach on the year when Benei Yisrael left Egypt, we observe this Shabbat as a
special occasion and refer to it as "Shabbat Hagadol."

Some have raised the question as to why we commemorate this miracle
specifically on the Shabbat before Pesach, rather than on the calendar date
when this miracle occurred – the tenth of Nissan. Why don't we observe a
commemoration on this date regardless of the day of week on which it falls?

One answer suggests that it was specifically due to Benei Yisrael's observance
of Shabbat that the greatness of this miracle was felt. When they told the
Egyptians on that day of their plans to slaughter the sheep as a sacrifice, the
Egyptians believed them despite the fact that they did not slaughter the sheep
that day, because they understood that Benei Yisrael would not kill animals on
Shabbat. On the subsequent days, however, when the Egyptians saw that Benei
Yisrael were not yet slaughtering the sheep, they began to suspect that they
were bluffing all along. It was thus specifically on Shabbat when the Egyptians
sought to foil Benei Yisrael's plans but were miraculously prevented from doing
so, and for this reason we commemorate this miracle specifically on the Shabbat
before Pesach.

Others explain that the tenth of Nissan marks yet another great miracle in
Jewish history – the splitting of the Jordan River when Benei Yisrael entered
the Land of Israel, as recorded in the Book of Yehoshua (chapter 3). In order
to make it clear that we commemorate the miracle in Egypt, and not the
splitting of the Jordan, we observe our commemoration on the Shabbat before
Pesach, rather than on the calendar date of the tenth of Nissan.

The Chid"a (Rabbi Chayim Yosef David Azulai, 1724-1806) writes that on
this Shabbat people should extend to one another the greeting, "Shabbat
Hagadol Shalom" and then respond, "Shabbat Hagadol Shalom

There is a widespread custom for the Grand Rabbi of the congregation to deliver
on this Shabbat a special Derasha (lecture) devoted to the laws of Pesach and
discussions of the Haggada in preparation for the holiday. This is another
reason for calling this Shabbat "Shabbat Hagadol," which perhaps
means, "the Shabbat of the great person," referring to the Grand
Rabbi. Additionally, the Derasha delivered on Shabbat Hagadol is typically
lengthier than the Rabbi's usual lecture. (The late Chief Rabbi of the
Sephardic Community in Brooklyn, Chacham Yaakov Kassin A”H, would deliver his
Derasha on Shabbat Hagadol in Congregation Shaare Zion for several hours before
Mincha.) The term "Shabbat Hagadol" may thus refer to the
"great," or long, lecture that the Rabbi delivers on this Shabbat.

Some Ashkenazim have the practice of reciting the Maggid section of the Haggada
on Shabbat Hagadol, in order to familiarize themselves with the Haggada in
preparation for the Seder. The Gaon of Vilna (Rabbi Eliyahu of Vilna,
1720-1797) opposed this practice, in light of the emphasis made in the Haggada
itself that the obligation to tell the story of the Exodus applies only on the
night of Pesach ("Lo Amarti Ela Be'sha'a She'yeish Matza U'marror Munachim
Lefanecha"). In any event, even for those of us who do not actually recite
the Haggada on Shabbat Hagadol, this Shabbat is an appropriate time to begin
reviewing the Haggada and prepare material for the Seder


The Significance of Shabbat Hagadol
Maran, in Shulhan Aruch, discusses the special
Shabbatot that precede Pesah and the various Halachot that apply on those days.
On Shabbat Shekalim, we take out an extra Sefer Torah and read the section of
Shekalim, just as on Shabbat Zachor, the Shabbat before Purim, we read the
section of Zachor, and we read special portions from the Torah on Shabbat Para
and Shabbat Ha’hodesh. Interestingly, however, Maran also makes mention of the
Shabbat immediately preceding Pesah, which is called Shabbat Hagadol (“The
Great Shabbat”) because of the miracle that occurred on this Shabbat. Maran
makes mention of this Shabbat, even though there are no specific Halachot
associated with this Shabbat. There is no special reading from the Sefer Torah
on this Shabbat, and there are no special prayers, and yet Maran made a point
of mentioning in his Halachic code that this Shabbat is special and is called
Shabbat Hagadol.

It is true that there are several customs observed by some communities on this
Shabbat. For example, many synagogues read a special Haftara on this Shabbat,
but this is not required according to the strict Halacha. Some Ashkenazim read
portions of the Haggadah on Shabbat Hagadol, but this, too, is just a custom,
and in fact the Vilna Gaon (Rabbi Eliyahu of Vilna, 1720-1797) was opposed to
the practice.

The Hida (Rav Haim Yosef David Azulai, 1724-1807) suggested that perhaps the
Halachic implications of the status of Shabbat Hagadol relates to greetings
extended to one another on this Shabbat. Instead of greeting one another with
the usual greeting of “Shabbat Shalom,” the Hida suggested that perhaps one
should instead extend the greeting, “Shabbat Hagadol Shalom,” and the other
should then respond, “Shabbat Hagadol Shalom U’meborach.” Still, it remains
unclear why Maran would make a point of mentioning Shabbat Hagadol if there are
no actual Halachot that apply on this Shabbat.

Former Chief Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron, in his work Binyan Ab, suggested that
the practical significance of Shabbat Hagadol lies in the perspective it gives
us on the preparations for Pesah. On the Shabbat before the Exodus, which was
the 10th of Nissan, Beneh Yisrael were instructed to prepare a sheep for the
Korban Pesah (paschal sacrifice) which was slaughtered four days later, on the
14th of Nissan. In full view of the Egyptians, who worshipped sheep as an Aboda
Zara, Beneh Yisrael took a lamb and tied it to their bedpost, and they even
explained to the Egyptians what they were doing, that this animal would be
sacrificed to G-d. The Egyptians wanted to kill the people for desecrating
their deity, but G-d performed a miracle and made them powerless to cause Beneh
Yisrael any harm.

Rav Bakshi-Doron noted that this miracle differed fundamentally from the ten
plagues. The ten plagues were brought directly by G-d, whereas the miracle of
Shabbat Hagadol came about through the people’s courage. It was through their
preparations for the Misva that a miracle happened. And the fact that G-d
performed a miracle during the preparation for the Misva, four days before the
actual performance of the Misva, is very significant. It demonstrates that even
the preparatory stages have great value; that even the work we do in
preparation for a Misva is laden with significance. And thus Maran made mention
of Shabbat Hagadol in Shulhan Aruch, to teach us the importance of preparing
for Pesah, by learning and teaching the Halachot and putting ourselves in the
proper frame of mind for the holiday. The miracle of Shabbat Hagadol teaches us
that it is not only the Misva itself that has value, but also the work we
invest beforehand preparing ourselves for the performance of the Misva.


Shabbat Shalom

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