What Does The Term “The Great Shabbat” Refer To?

“The Great Shabbat” or Shabbat Hagadol refers to the Shabbat before Passover. And it’s named Shabbat Hagadol, “The Great Shabbat” because in this Saturday originally, Israel prepared to go out of Egypt.

At this time of the year, many generations ago, the sons of Israel were asked to bring a one-year-old male lamb and bring it into their homes in Egypt and to wait four days. At the evening of the fourth day, they had to slaughter the lamb and mark with its blood the lintel and both doorposts.

Since the Bible speaks in metaphors what does this ritual mean? Let’s look into the Hebrew. Lamb in Hebrew is Taleh טלה. The numeral value of Taleh טלה is 44. Like the numeral value of the word blood in Hebrew דם (dam).

The sons of Israel were writing the letter Aleph א with the blood of the lamb over their doors in Egypt to say: “We are human, א-דם A-dam “we are not just blood cells, we have the spirits, and we choose to be free.

And when the Lord was passing that night to kill all firstborn in Egypt, he saw the letter Aleph א written at the doors and spared the lives of humans.


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About Eti Shani

Eti Shani was born in Israel and has been teaching Hebrew for more than 10 years with a special interest and experience in ancient Hebrew scriptures and culture. She's also the author of a series of books for novice and intermediate Hebrew learners.
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