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The Haftorah Before Passover

What is the correlation between the Haftorah in Malachi read before Passover and the Passover holiday?

We read from the last Chapter of the Prophet Malachi (chapter 3, from verse 4 to the end) on Shabbos HaGadol (lit. “The Great Shabbos,” the Shabbos that precedes Passover). Shabbos HaGadol connects us to the Shabbos before the first Passover (in Egypt) when the Jews were commanded by G-d to take a year old lamb or goat to be used for the Passover Offering (offered on the day before Passover and eaten at the Seder) and tie it to their bedpost in preparation for its offering. The Jews followed G-d’s command, even though they knew the armed Egyptians would be enraged by this negation of their ‘gods’, as the ancient Egyptians would worship these animals. It was only through a miracle that the faithful Jews were not attacked.

Malachi prophesies about the destruction and final judgment of the wicked, which the Jews in Egypt witnessed just after this Shabbos. Just like G-d redeemed us from Egypt, the Prophet Malachi tells us He will again deliver us from our current exile, where we are despised and threatened by so many immoral nations. Our Redemption from Egyptian exile, at the beginning of our national history, of course mirrors the final Redemption of the Jewish People at the end of History. This is what we pray for every Passover and every day. But Passover has an obvious extra connection to our future Redemption and reading this Haftorah on Shabbos HaGadol (right before Passover ) is an especially good fit, as both express our looking forward to a Redemption soon to come.

Shlomo Shulman

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