Shabbat HaGadol: Preparation through Personal Connection

שבת הגדול
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Written by:
SAR Faculty
Access editable doc with student handouts:

ברכה ראשונה

Ask each person to say their name. When they share their name, the rest of the group claps for them.

מספר נוכחות:

On a scale of 1-10 how present are you? How much are you here right now? 1=you may see me but my mind is in a totally different place, 10= I am completely with you, energized and fully locked in to whatever is happening here. 

You can try: Now, get up and sit in the seat of someone whose number was lower than yours. Get up and sit in the seat of someone whose number was higher than yours. 

סיפור שלי להיום:

In one or two sentences, what is your story for today? What’s going on for you today? 

This can be done going around one by one or by breaking people into pairs.

After סיפור שלי להיום:

You can try: Does anyone have any follow up questions for anyone about their story?

Take 2-3 questions and let the person answer. 


  1. The parnas chooses one question from the questions below to talk about:
    • Describe a time during the week that you most enjoy
    • What is a show that you watch, enjoy watching
    • What type of music do you listen to? What do you like about it?
    • Tell a funny story from your childhood.
    • What is your earliest memory?
    • Something that people don’t know about me is…
    • What’s your full name and why are you called that?
    • Who in your family are you most similar to? Different from?
    • The last place you would find me is…
    • If you had a million dollars what would you do with it?
    • Who is a role model of yours? Someone you would like to be like?
    • My favorite time of the week is..
    • What’s your favorite chag / Jewish holiday? Why?
    • What does a typical Shabbat look like for you? A special one?
    • What’s a Torah idea/Torah teacher that you found particularly
      meaningful? Why?
    • Tell about a time when you felt a strong connection to Torah/the Jewish community.
    • What’s a part of tefillah that is meaningful to you and why?
    • Who is a Jewish role model for you? Why?
    • What is your favorite mitzvah and why?
  2. Share a dilemmaThe parnas shares a dilemma he/she has been faced with recently. It can be school-related, or not. 
  3. Reflection
    After sharing of the dilemma - do two rounds of quick response (one sentence each from each person)
    1. What I heard X say is…
    2. What resonated with me is…

If parnas takes the whole time - that is fine!

לימוד ועבודה פנימית

The shabbat before Pesach is called Shabbat Hagadol. There are a few explanations for why this shabbat has a special name:

  1. The Shulchan Aruch says that the year Bnei Yisrael left mitzrayim the 10th of Nissan was on Shabbat. That is the day Bnei Yisrael had to set aside the korban Pesach. Given that a lamb was considered a god by the Egyptians it was a נס גדול - a great miracle that they were able to do this, and so the shabbat became known as שבת הגדול.
  2. The haftarah we read this shabbat is from ספר מלאכי. It speaks about the future redemption of the Jewish people in the time of Mashiach. In speaking about that - it refers to the future redemption as  - י֣וֹם יְהֹוָ֔ה הַגָּד֖וֹל וְהַנּוֹרָֽא
  3. On Shabbat Hagadol it is customary for the rabbi to give a longer drasha than usual to review the halakhot and minhagim of Pesach. The name shabbat hagadol might come from how long the drasha is! 

Since shabbat hagadol is a time we focus on the halakhot and minhagim of pesach, we are going to take a couple of minutes this morning to share our favorite halakhot and minhagim of pesach.  (you can do this together or as a group)

Have each person share one halakha or minhag their family has that really enhances their appreciation of pesach - something you look forward to every year about the way your family observes Pesach.

ברכה אחרונה

Choose any one of the following:

  • What is your מספר נוכחות now?
  • What is one thing you learned about someone else today?
  • What is one thing you learned about yourself today?

Notes to the teacher

  • This is the place to make suggestions to the teacher of different ways they may choose to facilitate this limmud
  • Or particular grade levels or sensitivities to take into account
  • Or anything else you think is important for the teacher to know

עבודת המורה

  • This is the place to raise some questions that make sure the teacher tests the limmud on themselves or others
  • Could be a general question like - which part of the limmud resonated most for you? Which question was the hardest for you to answer?
  • Or questions anticipating students’ responses- What do you think students will say for X or Y? To what extent are you open to being surprised?
Download with student handouts:
Please help others by sharing how you used the resource, how you adapted it (link to your own version!) and what worked more or less well. You can also post questions that Lifnai Vlifnim staff or community members will try to respond to.

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