Pessah : Chabbat Hagadol

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Le chabbat qui précède Pessah : Chabbat HaGadol – « le Grand Chabbat »

Le chabbat qui précède Pessa’h est appelé Chabbat Hagadol pour de multiples raisons, dont en voici quelques-unes.

Le premier « Grand Chabbat » du peuple d’Israël fut celui qui précéda la sortie d’Égypte. Cette année-là, la néoménie de Nissan tomba un jeudi, et le chabbat avant Pessa’h ce fut le 10 Nissan. Or ce 10 Nissan, nos ancêtres devaient choisir, dans chaque famille, un agneau destiné à être immolé le 14 du même mois, dans l’après-midi : « Parlez à toute la communauté d’Israël en ces termes : « Au dixième jour de ce mois, que chaque homme se procure un agneau, pour la maison de son père, un agneau par maison. » (Exode 12 :3)

Ce fut la première mitsva confiée à chaque chef de famille en Israël. Et ce chabbat fut en effet un jour inoubliable dans chaque foyer, on amena un agneau que l’on prit soin d’attacher au pied du lit. Les voisins égyptiens, étonnés, demandèrent alors : « que signifient ces préparatifs ? » A quoi le juif répondit  : « d’ici 4 jours, sur l’ordre de notre D.ieu, nous devons immoler cette brebis ». Mais les Egyptiens n’osèrent pas protester contre ce qu’ils devaient considérer comme un acte sacrilège !

Ce fut donc en vérité un grand chabbat, préparant des lendemains plus grandioses encore!

Comment comprendre l’attitude passive des Égyptiens? C’est que, bien avant le 10 Nissan, ils avaient été informés de l’imminence de la dernière plaie, celle qui devait répandre la mort et la désolation dans chaque foyer égyptien ! Lorsqu’ils virent les préparatifs de départ de leurs voisins juifs, ils se rendirent compte que l’heure du destin approchait pour eux

 

Dans le Talmud (chabbat 87b), Tossafot sur le passage «ce jour-là tomba un jeudi » (il s’agit de Roch ‘Hodech Nissan) cite le midrach si Roch ‘Hodech Nissan tombe un jeudi, l’année de l’Exode, le 10 Nissan tombait un chabbat; c’est pourquoi le chabbat qui précède Pessa’h s’appelle le  Grand Chabbat, en effet, un grand miracle eut lieu ce jour. Voyant leurs voisins juifs choisir solennellement un agneau par famille, les premiers-nés égyptiens demandèrent aux juifs la raison de ces préparatifs; ceux-ci leur répondirent c’est un sacrifice pascal pour  l’Éternel, qui fera mourir vos premiers-nés d’ici quelques jours ! Aussitôt les premiers-nés se précipitèrent chez Pharaon afin de le supplier de laisser partir les juifs immédiatement ! Pharaon et ses serviteurs ayant refusé, les premiers-nés se battirent contre leurs propres frères, et firent de nombreuses victimes. C’est ainsi qu’on peut comprendre le verset du psaume 136 : celui qui frappa les Égyptiens par leurs premiers-nés!

 

La Haftara de ce chabbat (Malachie III, 4-34)  commence par cette vision messianique « alors l’Eternel prendra plaisir aux offrandes de Juda et de Jérusalem… ». Le choix de ce texte est facile à comprendre  : c’est le message qui nous annonce notre libération future, définitive celle-là ! Il est lu le dernier chabbat avant la fête de Pessa’h, de même que l’annonce de leur libération d’Égypte eut lieu le chabbat avant leur sortie d’Égypte.

Dans ce même chapitre de Malachie dont est tirée la Haftara de chatbbat HagadoI  il est aussi question de la dîme (verset 10) : « apportez toutes les dîmes dans le lieu de dépôt… vous verrez si je n’ouvre pas en votre faveur les cataractes du ciel, et si je ne répands pas sur vous la bénédiction au-delà de toute mesure !  » Or nous apprenons dans la michna (R. H. 1, 2) que Pessa’h est la fête où le monde est jugé en ce qui concerne les récoltes : par la faute de ceux qui ne donnent pas la dîme, le ciel se fermerait et la famine régnerait ! En donnant la dîme, au contraire, ils bénéficieraient de la bénédiction du ciel

 

 

QUELQUES EXPLICATIONS SUR LA SIGNIFICATION

DU MOT. CHABBAT HAGADOL

 

1)   Ce jour-là, nos ancêtres pour la première fois reçurent une mitsva : chaque chef de famille devait choisir un agneau pour le sacrifice pascal. Ainsi ils devinrent des « adultes », des « grands », à l’instar du garçon qui, à l’âge de 13 ans, devient un adulte, soumis au joug des mitsvot.

 

2)   Selon l’interprétation traditionnelle, le passage Lév. 23, 13

« vous compterez chacun, depuis le lendemain du chabbat » signifie non pas le 7ème jour de la semaine, mais le premier jour de Pessa’h : mais les adversaires de la tradition orale prétendaient que le mot chabbat désigne « chabbat béréchit », le 7e jour de la semaine. C’est pourquoi nos Sages appellent « chabbat Hagadol » le chabbat qui précède le premier jour de Pessa’h qui lui aussi dans ce verset du Lévitique, est appelé chabbat, mais non chabbat Hagadol.

 

3)   La haftara de ce chabbat se termine par le verset bien connu qui annonce l’arrivée du prophète Elie « Or je vous enverrai Elie le prophète, avant qu’arrive le jour de l’Éternel, jour grand et redoutable! » C’est par cette vision d’un avenir lointain que se termine le message des prophètes. Aussi, de même que le chabbat précédant ticha Béav s’appelle « chabbat Hazon », celui qui vient après le jeûne chabbat Na ‘hamou, empruntant ainsi, pour caractériser le chabbat, un mot de la haftara, ainsi le chabbat précédant Pessa’h porte le nom chabbat Hagadol, d’après le mot qui caractérise la fin de ce message Yom Hagadol Véhanora.

 

 

 

DIVERS USAGES CONCERNANT CHABBAT HA GADOL

 

 

Dans de nombreuses communautés de rite ashkénaze, on intercale des Pioutim dans la répétition du Chemoné Esré de cha ‘harit; ces pioutim résument en particulier les prescriptions essentielles concernant la fête de Pessa’h : élimination du ‘Hamets, purification des ustensiles, etc…

Ce chabbat, on cesse de dire après la prière de Min’ha. les chapitres 104 et 120 à 134 du livre des Psaumes, qu’on avait l’habitude de réciter pendant l’hiver. Par contre, on a l’habitude après Min’ha, de réciter la .Haggada, à partir du passage « Avadim hayinou » jusqu’à la michna de Rabban Gamliel, qui commence par les paroles :

« celui qui n’a pas expliqué les trois choses suivantes à Pessa’h n’a pas rempli son devoir (Pessahim X, 5) ». Ce passage, et ceux qui suivent, ne se disent que le soir du Séder.

Les Séfardim n’ont pas ce Minhag. Le Gaon de Wilna ne disait pas non plus la Haggada le chabbat hagadol

 

Dans certaines communautés de rite oriental, on a l’habitude de souhaiter l’un à l’autre chabbat Hagadol Mév’ora’h. Cette usage remonte à l’époque talmudique et à celle des Gaonim.

L’usage répandu dans toutes les communautés, quel que soit le rite, concerne le chef spirituel : il est de coutume qu’il fasse une deracha (en général après Min’ha) afin de rappeler aux fidèles les prescriptions nombreuses et minutieuses concernant la fête de Pessa’h (purification des ustensiles, recherche du ‘Hamets, cuisson des matsot, etc.). Afin de rendre sa deracha plus attrayante, il ajoutera aussi des « Divré Agada » : des explications puisées dans le midrach sur la signification de la fête.

Lorsque la veille de Pessa’h tombe chabbat, il convient de faire la deracha le chabbat précédent il serait en effet un peu tard d’exposer les prescriptions concernant les préparatifs de la fête à un moment où tout doit déjà être prêt ( comme cette année )

Dans les communautés de rite ashkénazes, à Jérusalem et dans la plupart des villes en Erets Israël, on ne dit pas « Viyéhi Nôam après le Chemoné Esré de Maariv », à la fin du chabbat Hagadol, même si le premier jour de Pessa’h tombe le chabbat suivant. En effet, la veille de Pessa’h, surtout à partir de midi, le travail est interdit comme les jours de ‘Hol Hamoed. En principe, le passage en question, suivi du psaume 91 et de Kédoucha désidra, ne se dit le motsaèi chabbat que si la semaine qui commence comporte six jours ouvrables.

 

HAFTARA DE CHABBAT HAGADOL

 

 

 

Le texte de notre haftara offre plusieurs particularités: Tout d’abord il constitue le chapitre final du dernier livre des douze petits prophètes, Mala’hie, et de ce fait il sert de conclusion, en même temps, à l’ensemble des livres prophétiques de la Bible. A ce point de vue, les derniers versets de notre haftara sont tout à fait caractéristiques. Par ailleurs, cette haftara est lue en un chabbat qui se singularise du fait qu’il précède la fête de Pessa’h, mais aussi parce qu’aucun texte additionnel n’est lu ce jour-là dans la Torah. Ainsi donc, aucune analogie ne peut être recherchée entre la haftara et un quelconque passage de la Torah.

Ce texte a été choisi pour sa valeur propre : à cause de l’espérance messianique qu’il exprime. Et celle-ci nous est signalée par le nom même que porte ce chabbat : le “chabatt hagadol” — le “chabatt du grand (jour)”.

De la sorte, notre attention est immédiatement appelée à retenir tout particulièrement l’important enseignement qui se dégage de l’exhortation finale de notre haftara. Mais non sans avoir auparavant résolu un problème qui peut se poser à l’approche de la fête de Pessa’h, au cours de laquelle nous remémorons le châtiment des Egyptiens et la libération de nos ancêtres. Suivant quel critère l’Eternel est-il intervenu? Comment l’Eternel sanctionne-t-il en général le comportement des hommes? A ce propos, Malachie tient avant tout à nous faire comprendre que la justice divine est sans faille, malgré les apparences qui peuvent parfois nous faire croire le contraire.

Ceci étant, nous ne devons pas oublier qu’à Pessa’h nous ne nous bornons pas à célébrer notre propre affranchissement ; nous consacrons la deuxième partie de la Hagada à la libération de tout le genre humain. Si nous rappelons nos souffrances passées, c’est pour mieux ressentir l’oppression dont souffrent encore tant d’hommes de nos jours. Et si nous appelons de nos vœux, au milieu du Séder, le prophète Elie, précurseur d’une ère messianique où l’homme sera un homme pour son frère et non un loup, nous nous invitons à œuvrer “tous les jours de notre vie pour hâter l’avènement de cette ère bénie.”

C’est en nissane, disent nos Sages, que nous avons été affranchis; c’est en nissane encore, qu’une nouvelle libération, universelle celle-là, se produira. A nous d’en rapprocher l’échéance.

 

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