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Friday, April 11

The Weekly Shtikle - Shabbas HaGadol

Once again, the unique configuration of this year's parshios (although identical to that of three years ago) presents us with an interesting thematic pattern. Last week was the one shabbos out without a special haftarah. We read the epic story of the four metzoraim and their discovery of the vacated camp of Aram, putting an end to a long, painful drought. The economic consequences of this event were foretold by the navi Elisha. While the drought had pushed the price of flour through the roof, Elisha prophesied that in only a day's time, the price of a sa'ah of fine flour and two sa'ah of barley would be a shekel, a drastic drop. One of the king's men scoffed at Elisha's prediction and declared it absolutely impossible. Elisha then added another prediction that this man would ultimately meet his demise precisely when the first prophecy was in the process of coming to fruition. As, we know, both came true.

There is an interesting nuance in the words of the scoffer which draws a direct line of connection to the haftarah we read this week, Shabbas HaGadol, from the end of Malachi. The scoffer declared, "vehinei HaShem oseh arubos bashamayim hayihyeh kadavar hazeh." Even if HaShem were to fashion windows in the heavens, could such a thing ever be? In this week's haftarah the navi delivers a promise from HaShem which almost seems to answer this blasphemy directly. We are given an unprecedented promise of great reward if we properly give ma'aser, as mandated by the Torah. We are told to test HaShem, as it were, "im lo eftach lachem es arubos hashamayim vaharikosi lachem berachah ad bli dai,"  if I will not open up the windows of the heavens and shower blessing upon you to no end. The windows are already there and HaShem is ready to open them up for us when we are worthy. 

This idea, of course, fits perfectly into the theme of the day. The miracles of Purim and Pesach teach a very similar lesson. No matter how drastic the situation and how much we feel that there is simply nothing that can be done to save us, we must always remember that there is no calamity from which we cannot be saved and no salvation that is beyond HaShem's reach.

Have a good Shabbos. Mishenichnas Adar Marbim beSimchah! (see Rashi, bottom of Taanis 29a)

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
Dikdukian: A Revealing Note
Dikdukian: Stand up, goat!
Dikdukian: Watch that plural
Dikdukian: Shabbas HaGadol

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