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D''vrei Mordechai

by Reb Mordechai Rosen z"l
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What does Hashem Elokecha ask from you, but to fear Hashem Elokecha and to walk in His ways? (Devorim, Perek Yud, Pasuk Yud Gimmel)


Why is this Shabbos referred to as Shabbos HaGadol? Also, if we say that this day is in commemoration of the gathering of the "Seh" for the Karban Pesach - that took place on the 10th day of Nissan. Why do we always commemorate on Shabbos even of it is not the 10th of the month?

The word Gadol is a remez to Emunah. How do we know this? In Berashis we learn of the "Bris Ben HaBisarim," an agreement between Hashem and Avraham Avinu. In this agreement, Hashem tells Avraham that although Bnei Yisrael will be slaves for 400 years in a strange land, when they are redeemed, they will leave with great riches.

In Shemos, before the beginning of Macas Bechoros (the plague of the first-borns), Hashem tells Moshe that Bnei Yisrael should prepare themselves to leave Egypt. Part of that preparation is going to their Egyptian neighbors and borrowing gold and silver. Hashem says, "Daber Nah B'Aznei HaAm" (Perek Yud Alef Pasuk Bais).

Rashi Hakadosh explains that "Nah," meaning please, is an expression of begging. Hashem tells Moshe that Bnei Yisrael should please do this so that Avraham Avinu will not complain that the nation suffered but did not receive their reward.

Two questions can be asked on this Rashi. The first one is why wouldn't Bnei Yisrael want to ask for the gold and silver? Why did Hashem have to ask Moshe to seemingly beg them to do it? The second question is why would Avraham come to Hashem and complain? Wouldn't Avraham just be happy that his children were released from their prison?

The answers are simple. Bnei Yisrael would not want to take the money from the Egyptians because it would insure that they would follow them into the desert. But not taking the money would show that they had a lack of Emunah in Hashem. And that is what Avraham would complain about.

When Hashem told Avraham that Bnei Yisrael would be slaves for 400 years, one of the things Avraham was afraid of was that the nation would lose their Emunah. Hashem asked Moshe to please beg the Am to show Avraham that their Emunah was still strong. And they did.

Back to the She. The Egyptians considered the She one of their most important gods. Hashem commanded Yisrael to gather the goat into their home and then slaughter it. Hashem also told Moshe that if Bnei Yisrael did not do this, they would never leave Egypt.

Bnei Yisrael were faced with an enormous test of faith. It was also a great test for Hashem. He had sworn that if they do not gather the Seh, they would never leave, so He must have had great faith in what they would do. That is why it is called Shabbos HaGadol. It was on this day that both Hashem and Bnei Yisrael showed their great faith in each other.

Why do we always commemorate on Shabbos? Shabbos, Bnei Yisrael, and Hashem bear witness for each other before the Heavenly tribunal. Hashem and Shabbos for Bnei Yisrael, Hashem and Bnei Yisrael for Shabbos, etc. It is most fitting that Shabbos bear witness for the great Emunah that Hashem and Bnei Yisrael had for each other. Than is why it is called Shabbos HaGadol - a Shabbos of great faith.

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