For many in the Flatbush community and beyond, an integral part of pre-Pesach preparations is the Shabbos Hagadol drashah delivered by Harav Dovid Goldwasser, Rav of Khal Bnei Yitzchok.
The annual event will take place tomorrow, iy”H, Shabbos Parashas Tzav, in the auditorium of Shulamith High School at 1277 East 14th Street (entrance on Locust Avenue, near Avenue M).
In past years, Hamodia featured selected highlights of Harav Goldwasser’s drashah in its Pesach issue. Since this year Shabbos Hagadol falls only two days before Erev Pesach, making it impossible to run them in the paper, Harav Goldwasser has kindly consented to provide the following insights in advance to share with our readers.
In Mah Nishtanah we read, “On all other nights we eat all types of herbs, but on this night we eat maror.” According to some texts we say “kulo maror” — only maror. Meforshim comment that this custom is valid even though we eat other vegetables at the Seder.
The Satmar Rav, zy”a, the Divrei Yoel, notes that the difficulties of our prolonged galus set it apart from the previous exiles, which were not as lengthy and lacked its particular challenges. This fact is alluded to by the expression “kulo maror.” Our generation’s unique challenges — parnassah, shidduchim, natural disasters, turmoil on the global scene, as well as the spiritual challenges presented by the internet and modern technology — have amplified the pain of this galus.
Despite these difficulties, however, a Yid must fortify his belief that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and he must continue to daven for the Geulah, when these ills will be remedied.
On Leil Pesach we declare, “V’hi she’amdah l’avoseinu v’lanu, and it is this that has stood by our forefathers and by us.” Haggadah Yetzias Mitzrayim states that “v’hi” refers to the Shechinah. The scenario is analogous to a king who exiles his wayward son but intends to bring him back home eventually. The queen pleads on his behalf, fearing that the king will neglect to send for their son.
To placate her, the king suggests that she accompany their son. “Just as I won’t forget to send for you, I won’t forget him either,” he promises.
Similarly, we find in Tehillim (91:15): “Yikra’eini v’e’eneihu imo anochi v’tzarah, he will call upon Me and I will answer him. I am with him in distress.”
V’hi She’amdah reminds us that the Shechinah has accompanied us in galus despite our enemies’ attempts to annihilate us, and has shared in our suffering. At the appointed time, Hashem, in His great mercy, will deliver us and send the Geulah.
Much of the Haggadah focuses on the importance of chinuch, addressing the concerns of the the Four Sons and facilitating the mitzvah of “V’higadeta l’vinchah,” telling the story of Yetzias Mitzrayim to one’s children.
Regarding chinuch, the great Sephardic Gaon and tzaddik Baba Sali quoted maseches Bava Basra 8b, which cites the passuk “U’matzdikei harabbim kakochavim l’olam vaed, and those who turn many to righteousness [will shine] like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:3). According to one view in the Gemara, this refers to melamdei tinokos, those who teach children Torah.
Baba Sali explains why the melamdim are compared to stars. In maseches Shabbos (156a) we find that the star under which a person is born determines his mazal. Its smallness notwithstanding, through it one receives lifelong hashpa’os (emanations).
Likewise, a rebbi’s “light” may seem small. He may have taught the child only the alef-beis, but that rebbi’s hashpaah will endure for a lifetime, as that of a father.
At this time of year it is fitting to ponder the chinuch needs of our loved ones and resolve to show respect and appreciation to those who are mechanech our children. Since their influence is lasting, our gratitude should be unceasing.
These and many additional insights, thoughts and stories will inspire all those who attend the drashah, which is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. Minchah will follow at Khal Bnei Yitzchok.