THE TABERNACLE IN BRANSON'S MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
"You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
May 2019 | Nisan - Iyyar 5779 | Volume 14 Issue 5
Sometimes we experience mis-steps before we can travel in the right direction. We make a left when we should take the road on the right, we say yes when we should say no, we stay when we should leave, or we withdraw when we should engage. Passover Sheni (second Passover) occurs on the 14th of Iyar, exactly one month after the 14th day of Nisan. Moses announces (Numbers 9:1-5) that the Passover Sacrifice (Korban Pesach) can only be eaten on a specific date with all its rules and regulations. These instructions to preform this mitzvah (commandment) troubled some men who had become ritually unclean because of coming in contact with a dead man’s body (Numbers 9:6-7). These men wanted to be a part of something bigger than themselves—something that would connect them to their community and to HaShem. Moses inquires to the Holy One the men’s concerns and He replied: “Say to the Children of Israel: If any man, whether you or your descendants, becomes unclean because of a dead body, or is away on a long journey, he may yet observe HaShem’s Passover. They are to celebrate it at twilight on the fourteenth day of the second month. With matzot and bitter herbs they are to eat it.” —Numbers 9:10-11 The bringing of the Passover offering was considered so important that this is the only instance of a Torah commandment in which an official “make-up day” is established to ensure performance. It is as if HaShem said, I will give you a second chance despite your status, despite your present state. When you do what you need to do to change, I will change the rules. Today, Passover Sheni is celebrated only symbolically, as the practice of bringing sacrifices has been discontinued since the destruction of the Second Temple. Instead, it is now customary to eat a piece of matzah on the holiday while tachanun (a daily supplications prayer not recited on holidays) is omitted from the prayer service to commemorate the joyous occasion from ancient times. Passover Sheni is celebrated one day instead of seven and leaven is not required to be removed from the home. At the close of the day, there is a prescribed time to commemorate, honor, and reflect on deceased loved ones. The Passover Yizkor (special memorial service) is considered one of the most recognized times to remember the deceased. Tributes such as contributions to charities, hospitals, hospices, synagogues, and other organizations also provide meaningful memorials. Some families also visit cemeteries and place a stone at the graveside of their loved ones, plant a tree, or dedicate a name plaque. A second Passover is proof positive that the Holy One hears the cry of our hearts when we are separated from Him and call out to Him for help. This minor holiday is a wonderful picture of missed opportunity and the merciful Nature of Our Father in Heaven. “Delight yourself in HaShem, and He will give you the requests of your heart.”—Psalm 37:4 Like the determined Israelites, we should never think that we must remain on the outside looking in because of something we did that made us unclean. HaShem’s hand is not too short to save, nor is His ear to dull to hear (Isaiah 59:1). HaShem can and will bring us back when we call to him. In 2 Chronicles 30:1-5 we see a decree issued to all Israel and Judah to keep the Passover of the L~rd in the second month. At that time there were not enough priests that had consecrated themselves nor were the people able to assemble in Jerusalem. So they could not celebrate Passover at its regular time. The story goes on and we see the unclean now being consecrated before the L~rd by the priests through the petition to HaShem by the righteous King Hezekiah. Through the phrase in verse 20, “HaShem heard Hezekiah and healed the people”. There was now hope when all had seemed lost, for cleansing for the unclean, as they were now given a second chance! Shanah Tocah “It will also come about in that day that the root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples. The nations will seek for Him, and His resting place will be glorious. It will also come about in that day that my L~rd will again redeem—a second time with His hand—the remnant of His People who remain…” —Isaiah 11:10-11 Prophetically, we could look at Passover Sheni as refilling a glass near empty—HaShem’s end-time gathering of Israel. This seems to be fulfilled in Israel’s reestablishment in 1948. For almost 2000 years the Jewish people were dispersed throughout the world, but in the last century, HaShem drew millions of Jewish people back to their Biblical homeland. And G~d is not finished! He will fulfill everything He has promised! We can rejoice in the mercy and faithfulness of the G~d of Israel. You may not get a second chance to make a first impression, but we can always open our hearts and give others a second chance. In Chassidic philosophy, Passover Sheni is all about second chances. A second chance to ‘get it right’, be forgiven, set our hearts in order, correct behavior, and set our feet back on the solid ground of the commandments of G~d.