Sign up to TorahFax


Friday, Iyar 14, 5783 (Hakhel Year) 29th Sefirah / May 5, 2023


Today is the 14th day in the month of Iyar. This day is known as Pesach Sheini - The Second Pesach. In the days of the Holy Temple, Pesach Sheini had practical significance.


When the Jewish people came out of Egypt, G-d commanded them to celebrate Pesach, but there was no mention of a second Pesach. So how did Pesach Sheini begin?


The Torah, in Numbers chapter 9, tells us that one year after the Exodus, while still in the desert, G-d commanded the Jewish people to celebrate the holiday of Pesach - the holiday of their freedom, by offering the Korban Pesach (Pascal sacrifice). However, there were people who were spiritually impure due to coming in contact with a dead body and had to wait seven days until they became clean.  Thus, they couldn’t bring the sacrifice in its proper time.


The men then came to Moshe and said, "Why should we be lacking the mitzvah of the Passover sacrifice?" Moshe 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 and they couldn’t bring the Pesach sacrifice, they shall make the Pesach offering on the fourteenth day of the second month [14th of Iyar], toward evening; they shall eat it with matzah and maror (bitter herbs)." 


Thus, in the days of the Temple, the 14th of Iyar became the Second Pesach for those who couldn’t bring it in the first month, as a result of impurity or not being in the vicinity of the Temple. They were given a second chance to perform the mitzvah, one month later on the 14th of Iyar.


Today, with the Temple being destroyed, there are no practical applications for Pesach Sheini, except that we do not say the prayer of supplication and make it a point to eat some matzah on this day, to remember the days of the Temple. However, the lesson of Pesach Sheini also applies today.


Pesach Sheini teaches us that in spiritual matters and mitzvot we should never say, “We missed our chance and it’s too late.”  Pesach Sheini is about having another chance! G-d always gives us another chance and another chance.  But it’s up to us to recognize it and take advantage of it.


Another lesson: G-d waited for the people to come forward and request this second chance. At times, it’s up to us to make that move to show G-d that we truly want that second chance, which He grants us.


The story of Rabbi Akiva is the best example of this.  The Talmud tells us that until the age of 40 Rabbi Akiva was an ignorant shepherd.  Only at the age of 40, with the encouragement of his wife, Rachel, did he get his second chance to study Torah. He studied diligently and forty years later, Rabbi Akiva became the greatest Talmudic sage of his time, leading a Yeshiva with thousands of students! Pesach Sheini teaches us this very encouraging and wonderful lesson – “It’s never too late!




Montreal candle lighting time: 7:48 / Shabbat ends: 8:58