Friday, March 22, 2013

Elijah is Coming to Town

 This Shabbat, the last one before the holiday of Passover, is known as Shabbat ha-Gadol, the Great Sabbath.  This Shabbat has a special haftarah, the reading from the Prophets which follows the Torah reading.  On Shabbat ha-Gadol, we read from  Malachi, the last of the prophetic books (in the Hebrew Bible; the Christian Testament orders the books differently).  The haftarah portion is Malachi 3:4-24, the last verses of the (rather short) book..  The prophet tells of the end times, of a Judgment Day when God will judge the righteous and the wicked.  The portion ends with these words, "Lo, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before the coming of the awesome, fearful day of the Lord.  He shall reconcile parents with children and children with their parents so that, when I come, I do not strike the whole land with destruction.

It seems to tell us that one of the the things that will keep God's wrath at bay is when parents and children are reconciled with each other, and get along.  All of us with families know that this is not always the easiest thing to accomplish; perhaps that is why God leaves the task to one of the greatest prophets.  As we gather with our families on this Passover, and pour a cup of wine for Elijah, let us reflect on the importance of loving and respecting one another, and doing our part in helping Elijah do his job.

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