SECOND CHANCE

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SECOND CHANCE

Harav Y. Reuven Rubin Shlita

Pesach Sheni has always intrigued me. What’s it all about? And what am I supposed to do with it today? Come with me and let’s try to figure it out.

Firstly let’s quote from the Torah the original concept of this fascinating day.

“Hashem spoke to Moshe in the Sinai desert … saying: “The Bnei Yisroel should prepare the Pesach [offering] at its appointed time. On the fourteenth of this month (Nissan), in the afternoon … in accordance with all its decrees and laws….”

There were, however a number of persons who had become ritually impure through contact with a dead body and therefore could not prepare the Pesach offering on that day. They approached Moshe and Aaron … and they said: “…Why should we be deprived, and not be able to present Hashem’s offering in its time, amongst the Bnei Yisroel?”

And Moshe said to them: “Wait here, and I will hear what Hashem will command concerning you.”

And Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying: “Speak to the Bnei Yisroel, saying: Any person who is contaminated by death, or is on a distant road, whether among you now or in future generations, shall prepare a Pesach offering to Hashem. They shall prepare it on the afternoon of the fourteenth day of the second month (Iyar), and shall eat it with matzahs and bitter herbs….” Bamidbar 9:1-12)

The Torah is describing how Hashem added a new concept to the Torah after a desperate appeal from a group of broken Yidden.

The Radomsker Rebbe Zt”l in his Tiferes Shlomo, tells us that from this episode we can learn a wondrous lesson.

Those Yidden who were ritually unclean (tumah) at the time of the first Pesach turned to Moshe with pain ridden hearts and cried out ‘Why should we be deprived?’ They pleaded that they should not miss out on bringing the Pesach offering, they desperately wanted to be part of Klall Yisroel and its connection to Hashem. This heartfelt cry tore open the heavens and something unprecedented happened, a new law was added to the Torah. They’re overwhelming desire to partake in Hashem’s mitzvos created a new reality, thru which the Torah added these special halochos.

If this was the case, says the Tiferes Shlomo, then if Yidden would have a true desire to see the Bais Ha’Mikdash, and they would cry out from the depths of their hearts for our redemption, then certainly they could, like those heartbroken Yidden in the Midbar, bring the Moshiach. The third Bas Ha’Mikdash stands ready to be brought down from Shomayim, it awaits only for us to truly want it with all our heart.

These words lift up at the vail of understanding. The episode of the Pesach Sheni taught us that there are second chances, but that we must want them with a full heart.

Whilst munching on your matzah on this Pesach Sheni, or whatever your custom may be, think about this powerful lesson. What is stopping the Third Bais Ha’Mikdash from becoming our reality? Perhaps it is ‘planning permission’ that is lacking, or better said, a true will for it to become a reality.

We are witnessing the breakdown of western civilisation on so many levels. Morals have long been lost in the tumult of mass media, youngsters take to the streets threatening their leaders, and chaos is rewarded with accolades.

Yet we sit in our bubble hoping that none of this will impact on us, that we stay safe. Well, look around, things are turning ugly. Anti-Semitism is spreading in all the so called ‘Democratic’ lands. The mad house that can be the internet spews forth its poison against us. Boycott’s, school daubing’s, threats, antagonistic comments published in mass media, it all has a sadly familiar ring to it. Now Jews are shot in Shuls in the USA and rockets mow down young fathers in Eretz Yisroel, whilst all the time major news outlets blame us.

We accept that this is our golus, and that we have lived in this uncertainty throughout history, yet here we are, and it hurts. The one key for our salvation lies within ourselves. We have to generate within ourselves, a true will for change, so that Hashem finally grants us the holy ‘planning permission’ of full redemption.

In Parshas Emor we learn of the Mitzvah of counting the Omer. Each day between the second days of Pesach until Shevuos we enumerate the day’s number and afterwards pray that by virtue of fulfilling this mitzvah we may rectify the defects that resulted from our failure to comply with the commandments of the Torah.

Think about it for a moment, Klall Yisroel was moribund in Egyptian slavery, Hashem showed us miraculous compassion and within a few weeks we were blessed to stand at Har Sinai and accept Hashem’s greatest gift, the Torah. How was this possible? How could a group of broken slaves, who aspired to nothing more than the breeze of freedom, transform themselves into spiritual beings that flew higher than Hashem’s ministering angels?

Rabbi Abraham Twerski Shlita explains that the answer is the mitzvah of counting the Omer, a time when we can address our defects one day at a time. The Torah is teaching us that no challenge is so great that it cannot be successfully overcome if it is only broken down into small manageable morsels. Pesach Sheni comes in the midst of this time of counting, offering us a vivid reminder of Hashem’s love for His children, and His nachas from our Mitzvos. Nothing is beyond the realm of the possible, if only we take this second chance.