Joining Elijah's Covenat to Heal the Earth on Shabbat HaGadol
Giving New Life to Shabbat HaGadol:
Elijah’s Covenant between the Generations —
Saving the Earth from Utter Destruction
“Shabbat HaGadol” —- this year April 11-12, just before Pesach — takes its name from a powerful prophecy of danger and redemption in its Haftarah — the last passage of Malachi, the last of the biblical Prophets.
We read “Here! — I will send you Elijah the Prophet before the coming of that great [haGadol] and awesome [haNora] day of YHWH [YyyyHhhhWwwwHhhh, Yahhh, the Breath of Life], so that he [Elijah] will turn the hearts of the parents to the children and the hearts of the children to the parents, lest I come and strike the earth with utter destruction.”
Earlier in the Prophetic reading, the Haftarah announces that the Earth will burn like a furnace, but the sun’s rays –- its “wings” — will bring healing. (Mal. 3: 19-21 and 23-24.)
Today, living in the midst of the climate crisis, we might hear this outcry pointing starkly to global scorching –— and urging that we look to solar and wind energy as a remedy, with older and younger generations working together to heal our world.
One way to observe Shabbat HaGadol would be to ask congregants to sit in groups of three or four people of different generations, to read these very last lines of the Neviim, and to explore what it would mean for all the members to become Elijah, connecting with each other to save the earth from utter destruction.
Drawing on but distinct from Shabbat HaGadol, The Shalom Center has created a ceremony and a curriculum on these questions for use in preparation for bat/bar mitzvah students and their families — bringing the hearts of the parents and the children together to avert disaster. The curriculum — Brit Eliyahu, Elijah’s Covenant Between the Generations— was created by Noam Dolgin, an extraordinary teacher in the Teva Learning Alliance work with teen and younger Jews. The curriculum has many suggestions for further learning and for action, well fitted to their ages.
If you would like to receive the Brit Eliyahu booklet, please click to
and make at least a $36 gift to The Shalom Center. If you want ten copies to use in your classes, instead of $360 we ask a contribution of only $99.99.
OR you can send a check, earmarked “Eliyahu,” to The Shalom Center, 6711 Lincoln Dr., Philadelphia PA 19119.
We also invite you to Forward this letter to your friends and colleagues, to share these ideas for enriching Shabbat HaGadol and every bat/ bar mitzvah.
As Pesach approaches, blessings of shalom, salaam, sohl; paz, peace! — Arthur
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