THE TABERNACLE IN BRANSON'S MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
PESACH SHENI - SECOND PASSOVER
May 2020 | Iyyar - Sivan 5780 | Volume 15 Issue 5
Pesach Sheni – Second Passover
Due to the Coronavirus, a lot of us were not able to celebrate Passover together with our extended families and friends. And while we look anxiously towards next year’s community Seder, many are taking advantage of Pesach Sheni or Second Passover. Pesach Sheni marks the day when people who were unable to participate in the Passover on the 14th of Nisan get the chance to observe it. The date is exactly one month after that on the 14th of Iyar. This year it begins Thursday evening May 7th and ends Friday evening May 8th. So how did Pesach Sheni come about? A year after the Exodus, G-d instructed the Israelites to bring the Passover offering on the afternoon of the 14th of Nissan, and to eat it that evening, roasted over the fire, together with matzah and bitter herbs, as they had they had done the previous year just before they left Egypt. “There were, however, certain persons who had become ritually impure through contact with a dead body, and could not, therefore, prepare the Passover offering on that day. They approached Moses and Aaron. . . and they said: ‘. . . Why should we be deprived, and not be able to present G‑d’s offering in its time, amongst the children of Israel?’” (Numbers 9:6–7). In response to their plea, G‑d established the 14th of Iyar as a day for the “Second Passover” (Pesach Sheni) for anyone who was unable to bring the offering on its appointed time in the previous month. Now, while none of us has (hopefully) come in contact with a dead body, we were, in fact, quarantined. So, I think this holiday is particularly appropriate for this year. Michael M. Cohen, in an opinion piece for The Jerusalem Post, called Second Passover "a minor holiday with a major message." He explained, "Pesach Sheni reminds us, a month after Passover, that the walk of freedom and redemption sometimes requires a second chance." Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, chief rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites, wrote in the Post, "if we look carefully, this halacha (Jewish law) of Pesach Sheni was not given the way most other commandments were given... This halacha was given to Moses only after a demand was made by the nation. Only when people came and complained about their bitter fate, about not being able to fulfill the mitzvah of eating the Passover sacrifice was this halacha stated that allowed them a second chance to fulfill the commandment. "The passion, the sincere desire, the positive attitude – these are what merited the halacha of Pesach Sheni." How is the Holiday celebrated? Traditionally most of the ritualistic restrictions of the first Passover do not apply to Pesach Sheni. As with the original Passover, the main feature is matzah. However, you are not required to get rid of any other leavened products. Since we weren’t able to be with our extended family, we will use all of the other elements normally used at the first Seder, including reading the Haggadah. There is a link to a printable Haggadah here. Tradition calls for round matzah called “Shmurah”. It is handmade with flour that is specially produced and carefully watched from the time it is grown in the field, through its harvest, milling and baking. The finished product rolls slowly out of the oven, 18 minutes or fewer since water first touched flour. While all matzah, including the more familiar square variety, is required to be completed within that 18 minutes, extra care is given to ensure that no stringency is spared with the “shmurah” kind. Some claim that it tastes better than the square kind sold in supermarkets, though many others say that it tastes more like cardboard. I’ll let you know after our Second Seder. In last month’s newsletter I posted some of my favorite recipes for a home Seder. They are available again in the Kosher Korner page. Also, check last month’s newsletter for how to set up the seder plate.