Passover and the Global
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This call from 2500 years ago that the generations must work together to heal the earth from the danger of utter destruction comes alive with new force in our generation. When we invoke Elijah the Prophet on Shabbat HaGadol and during our Passover seders, we must make sure that we are giving voice to our own commitment to take actions in our own day to move this world closer to redemption.
This leads to yet another meaning of "HaGadol," as pointed out in the commentary to this haftarah in the Etz Hayim chumash: "Shabbat ha-Gadol calls attention to an ultimate or "great" accountability that all creatures bear for the resources of the earth…(p. 1296)."
This points toward yet another meaning for "HaGadol." According to the 14th century commentator Abudraham, someone who turns thirteen years old and takes on the obligation to fulfill the mitzvot/commandments is called a gadol, an adult.
And the commandment in Exodus (12:3) that "on the tenth of this month, everyone take a lamb for each family" represents the entire people of Israel being given their first mitzvah. Therefore, in the days leading up to Passover, we mark the entire people becoming b'nai mitzvah - responsible and accountable in a new way. As we head toward Passover during a time of global climate crisis, what are our responsibilities?
Finally, we learn that King David never went out to war on the eve of Passover because this day was destined from the time of Creation to be a day of dew that gives new life, a day rich in blessings. For on this night no human creature is permitted to destroy any of the works of the Creation. Can we reclaim Passover as a Spring festival, as a time when new life blooms, and destruction of Creation is no longer permitted?
Four Questions for Today:
Can sing the first line, and then continue as a wordless melody: Mah nishtanah halailah hazeh mikol haleilot? [Literally: Why is this night different from all other nights?]
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