The Hearts of the Parents to Their Children; the Hearts of the Children to Their Parents: D’Var Torah for Shabbat Hagadol
10 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2016
Date Written: April 16, 2016
In the Jewish liturgical cycle, Shabbat Hagadol – the Great Shabbat – is the last Shabbat before Passover, so called because of the special Haftorah read from the Book of Malachi, which ends with these strange and powerful words: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and awesome day of Adonai. And He shall turn the heart of the parents to the children, and the heart of the children to their parents, so that, when I come, I do not strike the whole land with utter destruction.” (Malachi 3:23-24) These words are traditionally understood to be the very last words of prophecy in the Bible – the end of a series of passionate voices going back hundreds of years. This talk explores several questions: Why did prophecy end? What is the significance of these specific words? And how does all this relate, in a variety of complex ways, to the themes of Passover and the night of the Passover Seder? The talk also concludes with a practical suggestion for including this deeply resonant passage in the drama of the Seder itself.
Keywords: Micah, Passover, Shabbat Hagadol, Elijah, child sacrifice, Haggadah, Seder, prophecy, Books of the Prophets, Judaism, Rabbis, Jewish Messianism, Jewish Eschatology,
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