We read this week, in the Haftorah, the very last chapter of the prophets.
The last verse famously describes how Eliyahu HaNavi will come 'and restore the hearts of the fathers to children and the heart of children to their fathers…'
Why is this relevant to Shabbos HaGadol, the Shabbos preceding Pesach?
The Skverer Dayan, Rav Steinmetz, offers a creative interpretation of a verse in Tzav that shed lights on this question.
Tzav — Command, es Aharon, Aharon, v'es banav — and his sons, laymor —saying: zos toras — this is the law of haOleh — the elevation-offering.
Although this verse is merely a teaching being instructed to Aharon regarding the details of how to offer the Oleh, it has a homiletic meaning as well.
Command Aharon, to implement the instrument of v'es — the word 'es' used as a connecter between two subjects, prefaced with a vov, which is the letter of connection — banav — to first bond with his children, laymor — to effectively convey lessons, zos toras — this is the sole method of teaching, haOleh — the world oleh often is used to mean 'successful' — that will bring results in inculcating children with Torah.
The Toras Kohanim states that the verb Tzav — command, is implemented to connote extra zealousness in carrying out a directive especially when there is a situation of חיסרון כיס— monetary loss, being that the Oleh is totally consumed by fire on the Altar, with the Kohanim receiving no meat.
The Dayan cleverly interprets this idea as relating to those times when a parent 'takes off from work' to spend time with the children in preparation for Yom Tov, hoping to instill within them many vital practical Torah lessons and positive attitudes, yet oftentimes find themself challenged by the pressures and tensions associated with the myriad of details to tackle, that turn into conflict and stress.
It is in these moments that the message of 'v'es', to focus on the need to bond, is so vital to succeeding.
The goal of Pesach is to 'tell the story' of the redemption to our children.
If we are to succeed in inculcating within our children the depths of our faith, we must remain ever conscious of our mission to 'restore the hearts of the fathers to children and the heart of children to their fathers', conveying love despite the difficulty in the task, because without that our greatest efforts will fall on deaf ears.
There are many suggestions as to why we call this Shabbos, Shabbos 'HaGadol'.
Avraham Avinu is called 'the אדם הגדול — greatest man among the 'Anakim' — giants. (יהושע יד טו)
Avraham is the paradigm father, who was selected for that honored role precisely because 'he commands his children and his household after him that they keep the way of Hashem'. (בראשית יח יט)
On this Shabbos as we prepare for the upcoming Sedorim and reassert the critical need to 'return the hearts of the children', we conjure up the inspiring image of that 'giant' among men, the father of our nation, hoping to emulate his skill in carrying the message forward.
Indeed, the Shabbos of 'The' Gadol!
How did he accomplish that task? What can we learn from his methodology?
Ironically, the very first celebration of Pesach alluded in the Torah, was that of Lot in Sedom who shared his Matzah with the visiting angels. Who was his 'father'? To which children did he convey the message of Matzah to? Was he successful?
These and other questions will be explored, G-d willing, at the Shabbos HaGadol drasha. (6:20PM)
Hope to see you as we journey to discover the 'secret' to fulfilling this vital command!
צבי יהודה טייכמאן