Today is the 5th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan.
Passover begins on Friday night, April 3rd,
on the full moon of Nisan.
Shabbat this week begins at 6:13 pm.
This Shabbat, the one immediately preceding the start of Passover, is called Shabbat haGadol,
"the Great Sabbath." One possible reason for this name is that the haftarah reading for this Shabbat (Malachi 3:4-24) tells of the "great day" of God on which the Messiah will appear. Another possible explanation is that, on this Shabbat, people expected to (and often did) spend longer than usual in synagogue because of the unusually long sermon the rabbi delivered, exhorting them to follow the laws of Passover strictly by removing all chametz - anything leavened or fermented - from their possession.
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