The word “greatness” is thrown around a lot. Five-star hotels are called ‘great.’ As are championship sports teams, top restaurants, popular TV shows and blockbuster movies. In the political arena, President Trump wants to ‘make America great again,’ while his detractors claim the president is anything but ‘great.’
There are ‘great’ businessmen, ‘great’ actors, and ‘great’ communicators. There are even ‘great’ rabbis who give ‘great’ sermons at ‘great’ length to ‘great’ congregations.
But what does greatness really mean? What really defines greatness?
This is not merely an academic question. How we define greatness can have a profound impact on the type of children we bring up. What do we mean when we tell our children to be great? What are our standards of greatness?
Is being great defined by how much money we have? By our looks and popularity? By our athleticism and charisma?
Can true greatness be measured?
We find the answer in the name of this Shabbos – Shabbos HaGadol, the Great Shabbos
A beautiful story with the Tzemech Tzedek, a unique custom to bake a kugel on Shabbat HaGadol using some of the Passover flour set aside for baking Matzoth, peppered with wit and humor – offers us a fresh definition of greatness, infused with humility.
3329 years ago, the secret to greatness was imparted to us. And on this Great Shabbat, Shabbat HaGadol, we are reminded of what it means to be truly great.