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Why is the Shabbos before Pesach called Shabbos HaGadol? Please contribute as many answers as possible.

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5 Answers 5

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Maharal adds that the spiritual emanation before a special day becomes manifest in this world on the Shabbos before that special day. Pesach being the Chag HaGeulah, that supernal emanation that brings about geulah manifests itself on Shabbos HaGadol. What is that emanation? It is the sefirah of Hesed, as called Gedulah. The term "gadol" in reference to geulah is stated in the Haftarah and therefore this Shabbos takes on that name.

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1) on this day it was demonstrated that the Egyptians were powerless against the Jews. They must have been mightily peeved by the fact that the Jews were planning to slaughter lambs, an Egyptian deity -- but were incapable of doing anything to hamper their plans.

2) Some suggest that this Shabbat earned the title "Gadol," because it is the day when the rabbis traditionally deliver extensive lectures about the laws of Passover, and pontificate about the lessons to be learned from the holiday.

3) The Haftorah read in many communities on this Shabbat speaks of the coming of Moshiach, referring to the day of his arrival as the "yom Hashem hagadol v'hanora" -- the "great" and awesome day of the L-rd

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Bnei Yissoschor Nissan 3:2 brings in the name of MaHari Zevi that due to the Saducees who do not believe that Yom Tov is also called Shabbos (and count Sefira always from Sunday) the Chachomim called it Shabbos Hagodol to show that there is a small Shabbos (Yom Tov) in the upcoming week.

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Why wouldn't every Shabbath preceding a Yom Tov then be called Shabbath HaGadol? –  Seth J Apr 7 at 14:49
    
@SethJ: I hear your point. However perhaps since this is the first Yom Tov of the year, with the year starting in Nissan. –  Gershon Gold Apr 7 at 15:22

I've heard that it was originally Shabbat Haggadah and it became corrupted. (concurring opinion: http://www.oztorah.com/2007/03/the-name-shabbat-hagadol-ask-the-rabbi/)

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One of my favorite explanations (which I just found out actually comes from the Shiboley Haleket): The Rav customarily gives a Shabbos Hagadol Derosha, and for all the people listening it feels like a really long Shabbos!

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Did you see this brought down somewhere? –  Yehoshua Mar 23 '13 at 18:04
    
@Yehoshua I saw it quoted in Haseder Haaruch (vol. 3 pg. 18), but I've linked to the source in my answer. –  Michoel Mar 23 '13 at 23:49
    
Thanks. When I say it over I'd like to have another mareh makom (aside for a guy from judaism.stack exchange.com ! As chashuv as he might be ;) –  Yehoshua Mar 23 '13 at 23:51
    
@Yehoshua See it for yourself in the Shiboley Haleket that I've linked to in the answer. –  Michoel Mar 24 '13 at 0:13
    
I did and I appreciated it a lot. However hard to claim that I learned all of Shibolei HaLeket or at least looked at that piece independently without being told it. –  Yehoshua Mar 24 '13 at 0:38

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