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Dear Parents and NCSYers,

With Pesach on the horizon, we have a great dvar torah from our very own Gabi Kessler:

This week is a very special week. It’s a week of greatness, joy, inspiration, and miracles. This week we read parshat Acharei Mot. We learn in this week’s parsha about humility and haughtiness. The Divrei Yoel explains the sin that Aharon’s sons did, that caused them to die. He said it was because they considered themselves great tzaddikim (righteous men). They felt they were worthy on their own, (even without the entire B’nei Yisrael), of bringing the shechinah to dwell in the Mishkan. That is why they were punished to die before having children who could be a part of B’nei Yisrael (The Jewish People). The truth is they were great tzaddikim, but we learn from their punishment that a person should never think of himself/herself as being great and important. For instance, even if someone is a great Talmid Chacham (great scholar), he should look at himself as if he just started learning.

This week is also Shabbot Ha-Gadol. There are a few reasons why we celebrate the miracle that happened, on Shabbat. Rav Eliyahu Kitov explains it like so. Why do we commemorate the miracle on the Shabbat before Pesach rather than the 10th of Nisan – the day that the miracle actually occurred – on whichever day of the week it took place? The Torah only mentions the date (10th) rather than the day of the week. It’s because the miracle is connected to Shabbat. The Egyptians knew the B’nei Yisrael observed Shabbat and did not tend to the animals on that day, so when the Egyptians saw them taking lambs and binding them to their bedposts on Shabbat, they were surprised and went to investigate what was happening. The B’nei Yisrael were in great danger when they were confronted by the Egyptians, because the Egyptians worshiped the lamb and thought it to be a g-d. So the miracle was that Hashem silenced the Egyptians and saved the B’nei Yisrael from imminent danger. Rabbi Fried told me in the summer that if you have a great Shabbat then you will have a great week.

The Be’er Mayim Chayim explains that all the joy and spiritual illumination we merit during the course of the week is thanks to the preceding Shabbat. Shabbat Shuvah precedes Yom Kippur and brings the illumination of fear of Hashem. And Shabbat Ha-Gadol precedes Pesach and brings the illumination of love of Hashem. Which is greater – fear or love? The answer is in the name: The Shabbat that is called Ha-Gadol is greater.

Wherever you are for Shabbat make it a great one, because if you have a great Shabbat and your family and friends take part in your joy, then everyone will have a great week and a great Pesach.

I hope that everyone has a fantastic Shabbat and Pesach. Chag Sameach!!!

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