Although I usually use this space to write about the Parsha of the week, since last Friday was a lesser known holiday, I’ve pivoted to discuss the holiday instead.
Every year when the township announces the date for fall leaf pickup, a secondary date is offered in case you didn’t prepare in time for the first one. At colleges and universities, it is common that if a student misses an exam, a time is scheduled for a makeup exam.
So, what about holidays? If we miss Rosh Hashanah, can we blow the shofar a week later to fulfill the mitzvah? Or if we are sick on Sukkot, can we take a Lulav and Etrog and sit in the Sukkah a later time? The answer is no. If you miss it, you missed it…except for Pesach. Pesach is the one holiday of the year that if you missed it for a legitimate reason, the Torah prescribes a makeup date for the holiday.
This holiday is called Pesach Sheni, or Pesach 2.0. See here: Numbers 9:9-12
וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר יְהֹ֖ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֥ה לֵּאמֹֽר׃ דַּבֵּ֛ר אֶל־בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לֵאמֹ֑ר אִ֣ישׁ אִ֣ישׁ כִּי־יִהְיֶֽה־טָמֵ֣א ׀ לָנֶ֡פֶשׁ אוֹ֩ בְדֶ֨רֶךְ רְחֹקָ֜הׄ לָכֶ֗ם א֚וֹ לְדֹרֹ֣תֵיכֶ֔ם וְעָ֥שָׂה פֶ֖סַח לַיוָֽה׃ בַּחֹ֨דֶשׁ הַשֵּׁנִ֜י בְּאַרְבָּעָ֨ה עָשָׂ֥ר י֛וֹם בֵּ֥ין הָעַרְבַּ֖יִם יַעֲשׂ֣וּ אֹת֑וֹ עַל־מַצּ֥וֹת וּמְרֹרִ֖ים יֹאכְלֻֽהוּ׃ לֹֽא־יַשְׁאִ֤ירוּ מִמֶּ֙נּוּ֙ עַד־בֹּ֔קֶר וְעֶ֖צֶם לֹ֣א יִשְׁבְּרוּ־ב֑וֹ כְּכׇל־חֻקַּ֥ת הַפֶּ֖סַח יַעֲשׂ֥וּ אֹתֽוֹ׃
And G-d spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the Israelite people, saying: When any party—whether you or your posterity—who is defiled by a corpse or is on a long journey would offer a Passover sacrifice to G-d. they shall offer it in the second month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight. They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs,
and they shall not leave any of it over until morning. They shall not break a bone of it. They shall offer it in strict accord with the law of the Passover sacrifice.
This holiday was brought forth by the desire of those who were ritually impure and unable to participate in the Passover rituals the year after we departed from Egypt. They said to Moshe, “Why should we miss out?” Moshe consulted with G-d who thereby instructed Moshe the verses above, and a new holiday was born.
The question is – Why only Passover 2.0? Why not Chanukah 2.0, Shavuot 2.0 or any other holiday?
The Lubavitcher Rebbe zt”l explains that it is because Pesach is the celebration of the birth of our nation. You can miss many events in life, and still advance successfully. However, if you miss your birth, you won’t be here! Therefore Pesach Sheni 2.0 exists.
Last Friday was Pesach Sheni. The custom is to eat some Matzo on Pesach Sheni to commemorate the holiday.
May we merit seeing the rebuilding of our Temple in Jerusalem and the return of our holiday celebrations therein, including Pesach Sheni 2.
Community Scholar in Residence