WWOT – Weekly Words of Torah: Parashat Metzora (Shabbat HaGadol)

To inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women
By Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, Executive Director, Women’s League For Conservative Judaism

This Shabbat, we read Parashat Metzora, and the Shabbat is called Shabbat HaGadol, the great Sabbath, the Sabbath immediately preceding Passover. According to tradition, the 10th of Nisan in the year of the Exodus was a Saturday. It was considered a great event, in fact, a miracle, that the Israelites could on that day select a lamb for sacrifice without being molested by their Egyptian masters, who, at other times, would have stoned them for such daring. Another possible reason for the name is that the haftarah (Malachi 3:4-24), the prophetic portion, speaks of the “great day” of God on which the Messiah will appear. A novel explanation for the name of Shabbat HaGadol is that the people used to return from the synagogue later than usual on this Sabbath because of the unusually long sermon that was customary on this day. There is a custom of reciting the Haggadah on the afternoon of Shabbat HaGadol, in order to familiarize oneself with its contents in preparation for the Seders in the coming week.

What is your favorite part of the Haggadah? This week, choose a section of the Haggadah and write your own 2019 interpretation.

Weekly Words of Torah is a brief paragraph prepared weekly by our new Executive Director, Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, presented in our “This Week @ Women’s League.” WWOT will provide meaningful thoughts related to the Weekly Torah Portion, an event on the Calendar, a Prayer, or something of Jewish interest, to inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women. If you have any particular interest in future topics, or want to send Rabbi Wolintz-Fields an email, you can contact her at ewolintz-fields@wlcj.org. Read previous Weekly Words of Torah here.