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Monday, Iyar 14, 5781 (29th day of the Omer)/ April 26, 2021


Today (Monday), the 14th day of the month of Iyar, is called, "Pesach Sheini" - "Second Pesach."


Q.  What is the origin and significance of Pesach Sheini? 


A.  The story of how Pesach Sheini came about, is found in the Torah (Numbers chapter 9). Unlike the regular mitzvah of Pesach which came as a result of G-d’s commandment to the Jewish people, Pesach Sheini came about as a result of a request by the Jewish people.  


Exactly one year after the Exodus, G-d commanded Moshe to tell the people to bring the Pesach sacrifice which would then be eaten with matzah and bitter herbs, as they did in Egypt the year before. However, there were people who were spiritually impure due to coming in contact with a dead body, which renders them spiritually impure thus not being able to partake in the sacrifice. 


According to some they were impure because they were carrying Joseph’s body, which they took out with them from Egypt. The men then came to Moshe and said, "Why should we be lacking the mitzvah of sacrificing the Passover sacrifice?" 


Moshe then brought their case before G-d.  G-d told Moshe, "Speak to the children of Israel saying, 'If a man of you or of your future generations shall be unclean as a result of [contact with] a dead body or will be on a distant journey, they shall still make the Pesach offering to G-d. They shall make it on the fourteenth day of the second month… they shall eat it with matzah and maror (bitter herbs)." 


Thus, during the days of the Temple, anyone who was impure or far from the Temple at the time of Passover, they were given a second chance to perform the mitzvah one month later on the 14th of Iyar.


Q.  Why were they carrying Joseph’s body with them in the desert?


A.  Before his passing, Joseph made his family promise that, at the time of the Exodus, they will take his body out of Egypt and bury him in Israel. Joseph’s casket travelled with the Jewish people during their 40 years in the desert and was later buried in Israel in the city of Shchem.


Q.  What is the practical lesson and significance of this day for us when we don’t have the Temple?


A.  Many have a custom to eat some matzah on this day in remembrance of Pesach Sheini.


Although we currently don’t have the Holy Temple and Pesach Sheini doesn’t apply to the Passover sacrifice, yet, the concept and lesson of "Pesach Sheini," is an important lesson in our everyday life.


"Pesach Sheini" is a reminder that we are given “another chance."  We should never give up. It teaches us that, as long as we live, G-d gives us the opportunity and ability to accomplish that which we may have missed earlier, especially in the spiritual realm of doing mitzvot and good deeds. It’s never too late!