Adrian A. Durlester

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Tzav/Shabbat HaGadol 5766

Dysfunction Junction

It's Shabbat HaGadol again. The Great Shabbat, the Shabbat before Passover. For Shabbat HaGadol there is a special haftarah reading, from the book of the Prophet Malachi, the last of the prophets.

As I wrote just two years ago on another Shabbat HaGadol, this haftarah, from Malachi 3:4-24, is chock full of gems. Last time I focused on one of those gems. This time I'd like to focus on another-this one from the very end of the haftarah reading.

In verse 23, we are told that G''d will send to us Eliyahu HaNavi, Elijah the Prophet, before the "yom Ad''nai hagadol v'hanora" - the great and awesome day of G''d.

Now, what exactly that is (the yom Ad''nai hagadol v'hanora) could be a whole other discussion. We'll save that for another day. Today, verse 23 is just the setup for what follows, what it is that Eliyahu HaNavi will do.

3:24 V'heishiv leiv-avot al-banim v'lev banim al-avotam, pen-avo vehikeyti et-ha'arets cherem.

"And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."

What is it about this verse that interests me?

Pesach is almost here. Soon many of us will gather with our families for a Seder. While this can be a most positive and loving experience for some, let's face it. For many, it will be yet another dysfunctional family get-together. Tensions. Bickering. Fighting. Frustrations.

When faced with such a situation, we might do well to recall the words of Malachi. They say that any one of us could be moshiach. Yet another among many good reasons to treat each other will respect and honor at all times. Maybe, when confronted with our alienated parents, or our alienated children, we can try to act as we are told Eliyahu HaNavi will act, and seek to bring about reconciliation. Try to turn the hearts of parents to children, and children to parents. Who knows. Maybe Moshiach will come. And even if the messiah may tarry, we can continue to eagerly await the coming of the messiah every day.

Believe with perfect faith that you can turn the hearts of parents to children and children to parents. and then labor to make it so.

Have a zissen Pesach, a sweet Passover.

Shabbat Shalom,


*-(I'm indebted today to Professor Baruch Levine and others who contributed to the Etz Hayim Torah commentary, for in remarking upon this connection, they helped me to finally determine the citation for this quote, which is one of my favorites, which I first encountered in the Reform High Holy Days machzor, Gates of Repentance.)

©2006 by Adrian A. Durlester

Some Previous Musings on the Same Parasha

Tzav 5765 (updated 5760)-Of IHOPs, Ordination and Shabbat
Tzav/Shabbat HaGadol 5764-Two Way Street
Tzav 5763 - Zot Torahteinu?
Tzav 5761/5759-Jeremiah's Solution
Tzav 5762-Irrelevant Relevancies

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