Its physical description.
Wednesday--14th Iyyar--this year is the evening of May 9 through sundown May 10 2017 is Pesach Sheini/the Second Pesah. Does it seem fast since the Seder? This day is always the 29th day of the counting of the Omer. It is more readily recognizing the energy when we see it as a Sefirah - Chesed Shebe Hod.
During Temple times, those who had been ritually impure or far (in distance) from Jerusalem at the time of the Pesach sacrifice on 14 Nissan had a second opportunity to bring their paschal sacrifice on Pesach Sheini, "the second Pesah" (see Bemidbar 9:1-14)(below). This day is not recognized as a holiday but it is considered a semifestival. This means that there are some rituals during the prayers that are not done as usual. The usual Tahanun supplications are not recited in the Synagogue services.
Many also have the minhag/custom to eat Matzah on Pesach Sheini during the day. Just as on Pesach we perceive the Pascal Sacrifice being equivalent to eating Matzah, on Pesach Sheini those who did not participate in the Pascal Sacrifice brought their Pascal Sacrifice.
Personally I follow this custom and another custom offered by R. Avraham Greenbaum of www.azamra.org, that the most appropriate time to eat the Matzot would be in the evening as the Pesah Sheni sacrifice was offered by day and eaten that night at a "Seder" together with Matzot. For the year 2017/5777 Pesach Sheni would begin the Tuesday evening of the 13th of Iyar (May 9 2017) until the evening of the 14th of Iyar (Wednesday May 10, 2017). A "Seder" would be Tuesday night. Thus it is best to eat the Matzah both Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday evening this year.
What follows is the Torah's description, a relevant Zohar on the Torah portion, and an important essay by R. Yitzhok Ginsburgh.
Bemidbar Chapter 9 Verses 1 - 14
סִינַי בַּשָּׁנָה הַשֵּׁנִית לְצֵאתָם מֵאֶרֶץ :מִצְרַיִם בַּחדֶֹשׁ הָרִאשׁוֹן לֵאמרֹ א. וַיְדַבֵּר יְ־הוָֹ־ה אֶל משֶֹׁה בְמִדְבַּר
Vaydaber HaShem El Moshe BeMidbar Sinai BaShanah HaShaynit LeTzaytam MaEhretz BaChodesh HaRishon Lamor.
1. HaShem spoke to Moses in the Sinai Desert, in the second year of their exodus from the land of Egypt, in the first month, saying:
ויעשו בני-ישראל את-הפסח במועדו
Vayashav Benai Israel Et HaPesach BeMoado
2. Children of Israel shall make the Passover sacrifice in its appointed time.
ג. בְּאַרְבָּעָה עָשָׂר יוֹם בַּחדֶֹשׁ הַזֶּה בֵּין הָעַרְבַּיִם תַּעֲשׂוּ אתֹוֹ בְּמוֹעֲדוֹ כְּכָל חֻקּתָֹיו וּכְכָל מִשְׁפָּטָיו תַּעֲשׂוּ אתֹוֹ
BeArbaAh AhSar Yom BaChodesh HaZeh Bain HaArbayim TaAhsav Eto BeMoado KiKal Chukotav Ukcal Mishpatav TaAsu Oto.
Translation3. On the afternoon of the fourteenth of this month, you shall make it in its appointed time; in accordance with all its statutes and all its ordinances you shall make it.
הַפָּסַח ד. וַיְדַבֵּר משֶֹׁה אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לַעֲשׂתֹ
Vaydaber Moshe El Benai Israel LaAsot HaPesach
4. Moshe spoke to the Children of Israel [instructing them] to make the Passover sacrifice.
ה. וַיַּעֲשׂוּ אֶת הַפֶּסַח בָּרִאשׁוֹן בְּאַרְבָּעָה עָשָׂר יוֹם לַחדֶֹשׁ בֵּין הָעַרְבַּיִם בְּמִדְבַּר סִינָי כְּכלֹ אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְ־הוָֹ־ה א ת משֶֹׁה כֵּן עָשׂוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל
VayAhSu Et HaPehSach BaRiShon BeArBaAh AhSar Yom LaChodesh Bain HaArbayim BeMidbar Sinai KeKal AhSher Tzewah HaShem Et Moshe Cain AhSu Benai Yisrael.
5. So they made the Passover sacrifice in the first month, on the afternoon fourteenth day of the month in the Sinai Desert; according to all that HaShem had commanded Moses, so did the Children of Israel
ו. וַיְהִי אֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר הָיוּ טְמֵאִים לְנֶפֶשׁ אָדָם וְלֹא יָכְלוּ לַעֲשׂתֹ הַפֶּסַח בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא וַיִּקְרְבוּ לִפְנֵי משֶֹׁה וְלִפְנֵי :אַהֲרןֹ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא
Vayehi Ahnashim AhSher Hayu Temayim LeNefesh Adam VeLo Yaklu Yaklu LaASot HaPesach Bayom HaHu Vayierevu Lifnay Moshe Welefnay AhaRon Bayom HaHu
6. There were men who were ritually unclean [because of contact with] a dead person, and therefore could not make the Passover sacrifice on that day. So they approached Moses and Aaron on that day.
ז. וַיּאֹמְרוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים הָהֵמָּה אֵלָיו אֲנַחְנוּ טְמֵאִים לְנֶפֶשׁ אָדָם לָמָּה נִגָּרַע לְבִלְתִּי הַקְרִב אֶת קָרְבַּן יְ־הוָֹ־ה בְּמעֲֹדוֹ בְּתוֹךְ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל
Vayomru HaAnShim HaHaymah Aylav Ahnachnu Temayeyam LeNefesh Adam Lamah Negarah Levelte Haeriv Et Karban HaShem BemAhdo Betoch Benai Yisrael.
7. Those men said o him, "We are ritually unclean [because of contact] with a dead person; [but] why should we be excluded so as not to bring the offering of the Lord in its appointed time, with all the Children of Israel?
ח. וַיּאֹמֶר אֲלֵם משֶֹׁה עִמְדוּ וְאֶשְׁמְעָה :מַה יְצַוֶּה יְ־הוָֹ־ה לָכֶם
Vayomer Ahlaim Moshe Ehmdu WeEhshMeAh Mah YeTzaweh HaShem Lachem
8. Moses said to them, "Wait, and I will hear what the Lord instructs concerning you."
ט. וַיְדַבֵּר יְ־הוָֹ־ה אֶל משֶֹׁה לֵּאמרֹ
Vaydaber HaShem El Moshe Lamor
9. HaShem spoke to Moses saying::
י. דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵא ר אִישׁ אִישׁ כִּי יִהְֶה טָמֵא לָנֶפֶשׁ אוֹ בְדֶרֶךְ רְחקָֹה לָכֶם אוֹ לְדרֹתֵֹיכֶם וְעָשָׂה פֶסַח לַי־הוָֹ־ה
Daber El Benai Yisrael Layer Eish Eish Ki HaShem Tamay LaNefesh Oh Bederech ReChokah LaChem Oh Ledrtaychem WeAhSha Pesach LaHaShem
10. Speak to the Children of Israel saying, Any person who becomes unclean from [contact with] the dead, or is on a distant journey, whether among you or in future generations, he shall make a Passover sacrifice for the Lord.
יא. בַּחדֶֹשׁ הַשֵּׁנִי בְּאַרְבָּעָה עָשָׂר יוֹם בֵּין הָעַרְבַּיִם יַעֲשׂוּ אתֹוֹ עַל מַצּוֹת וּמְררִֹים יאֹכְלֻהוּ
BaChodesh HaShanei BeArBahAh AhSar Yom Bain HaArbayim YaAhsu Oto All MaTzot Umerrim YoOhkluhu
11. In the second month, on the fourteenth day, in the afternoon, they shall make it; they shall eat it with unleavened cakes and bitter herbs.
יב. לֹא יַשְׁאִירוּ מִמֶּנּוּ עַד בּקֶֹר וְעֶצֶם לֹא יִשְׁבְּרוּ בוֹ כְּכָל חֻקַּת הַפֶּסַח יַעֲשׂוּ אתֹוֹ
Lo Yasheru Memehnu Ad Boker WeEhtzem lo YishBeRu Vo Kekal Chukat HaPesach Yaahsu
12. They shall not leave over anything from it until the next morning, and they shall not break any of its bones. They shall make it in accordance with all the statutes connected with the Passover sacrifice.
יג. וְהָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר הוּא טָהוֹר וּבְ רֶךְ לֹא הָיָה וְחָדַ לַעֲשׂוֹת הַפֶּסַח וְנִכְרְתָההַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִוא מֵעַמֶּיהָ כִּי קָרְבַּן יְ־הוָֹ־ה לֹא הִקְרִיב בְּמעֲֹדוֹ חֶטְאוֹ יִשָּׂא הָאִישׁ :הַהוּא
13. But the man who was ritually clean and was not on a journey, yet refrained from making the Passover sacrifice, his soul shall be cut off from his people, for he did not bring the offering of the Lord in its appointed time; that person shall bear his sin.
וכי-יגור אתכם גר ועשה פסח ליהוה כחקת הפסח וכמשפטו כן יעשה חקה אחת יהיה לכם ולגר ולאזרח הארץ
14. If a proselyte dwells with you, and he makes a Passover sacrifice to HaShem, according to the statutes of the Passover sacrifice and its ordinances he shall make it. One statute shall apply to you, to the proselyte and to the native-born citizen.
This is the Zohar English translation without the Aramaic Letters and without the Sulam Commentary.
Let the Children of Yisrael also keep the Pesach at its appointed season" (Bemidbar 9:2). Rabbi Yosi said: Have we not learned that whoever shows a proper worthy action below is as if he made that above. Due to him, this matter is roused and it is as if he actually made it, as we have already learned.
"If any man ('man man') of you or your posterity shall be unclean..." (9:10). Why does it say "man" twice? It is a man who is a man and is worthy to receive the lofty soul, yet he blemished himself so the supernal Shekhinah does not reside with him. What is the reason? He brought it about by defiling himself. Therefore, 'man man', that he is worthy to be a man, but he caused himself to be defiled so the holiness from above should not be with him.
"...[O]r be on a journey afar off." This is one of the ten letters (actually Parashiot - there are 32 letters with dots) that have dots in the Torah. All come to demonstrate something. What is "afar off?" It is because a person that defiles himself is made unclean above. As soon as they make him unclean above, he is afar off, far from the place and the road on which the children of Yisrael are attached. He is attached to a journey afar off; he removed himself from getting close to you, Yisrael, and to connect with you as you connect.
Rabbi Yitzhak said: Why is it written, "shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be on a journey afar off?" That seems to indicate that there are two things here, which is understood from the word "or." Rabbi Yosi said: Here is prior to having been made unclean. Here is after they made him unclean It seems that neither this one nor that one will have holiness from above reside with them, and they will not observe the Pesach at the same time that Yisrael observe it.
If you wonder whether he observes on the following month, even if he does not amend himself, it is not so. It is only after he has purified and restored himself. He has another month to perform the Pesach lamb. From here, we take it that every person that purifies himself is also purified.
If you will venture to say that he will find himself on a higher level that second month, it is not so. This is because the Children of Yisrael, the holy offspring that prepare the Pesach lamb at its designated time, take the moon and the sun together as one. Whoever receives first the foundation receives the building upon it. What is the foundation? Do not say that it is the loftiest foundation of the everlasting righteous, but rather the foundation of a precious stone, as is written: "The stone which the builders have rejected has become the head stone of the corner" (Tehilim 118:22). For this is a stone upon which something lies.
Rabbi Yehudah said: Certainly he acquires all, even on the second month. It is not quite the same as if someone acquires the Pesah lamb on the designated period. What is the reason? It is because the one who acquires the Pesach lamb service on its designated period receives from the bottom upward and does not regress, since we may promote to a higher grade of sanctity but not degrade. The one who acquires the Pesach lamb past the designated time descends from higher to lower. Therefore, even if it is the same in everything, it is not equal, since this one ascends and that one descends, and that one descends and does not ascend. Therefore, whoever brings the Pesach lamb on its designated state is more worthy. Praised are the Children of Yisrael who are meritorious in all. They are worthy of the Torah, and whoever is worthy of the Torah merits the Holy Name. Praised are they in this World and the World to Come.
We are told that once the Congregation of Yisrael is adorned with her crowns in the month of Nissan she does not remove the crowns from herself for thirty days, so it is still possible to have a second Pesach in the second month. The commandments for the slaughter of the Pesach lamb and the delay of the celebration for those who are unclean or far away to the second date are laid out for us. The first Pesach is from the right and the second is in the left.
Ra'aya Meheimna (The Faithful Shepherd)
It is a commandment to make a second Pesach for those that were unable or were defiled by any other uncleanness. If the secret of Pesach, which is the secret of the faith in which Yisrael entered, dominates in the month of Nissan and then it is the time for rejoicing, how could those who were unable to prepare it on time, or were defiled, make up for it in the second month, seeing that its time had already passed?
Once the Congregation of Yisrael is adorned with its crowns in the month of Nissan, she does not remove these crowns and adornments from herself for thirty days. The Matron sits in her adornments all these thirty days, beginning with the day of the exodus of Yisrael since the Pesach lamb and all her legions are in a state of happiness. Whoever wishes to see the Matron may look. And the proclamation calls: Whoever did not get a chance to see the Matron should come and look before the gates are locked. When is this proclamation proclaimed? It is on the fourteenth day of the second month, since the gates remain open from then on for seven days following. Following that, they lock the gates. Therefore, this is the second Pesach.
This commandment entails the slaughter of the Pesach lamb at its appointed time. It reveals the first Pesach lamb date and the second Pesach lamb, and cautions us to consume them in accordance with their laws. The unclean should be delayed to the second Pesach lamb date. That is a third commandment. The Tanaim and Amoraim are persons who are like pure, mundane objects from the side of Michael. And they are those like mundane objects from the sacred, for example holy meat, from the side of Gabriel, like the priest and the Levi. They are persons who are like Holy days and they are like the Holy of Holies.
The Shekhinah is the first Pesach from the right side, and the second Pesah from the left. The first Pesach is from the right where Chokhmah prevails. The second Pesach is in the left where Binah prevails. In Gevurah all foreign fires are removed, which are like straw and chaff in relation to the fire of Gevurah. The unclean are delayed until the second Pesach.
Some of this information comes from the website Kabbalaonline and other information from Rabbi Ginsburgh of Inner.org
Second Passover and the State of Israel
A Momentous Month
The State of Israel was established on the fifth day of the month of Iyar, 5708 (1948), when its Declaration of Independence was signed by its founders. On this day, the Holy Land, promised by God to the Jewish people, was restored to Jewish sovereignty for the first time in nearly two thousand years. The fifth of Iyar is therefore known as Israel Independence Day (Yom Ha'atzma’ut). As momentous as this event was, the new country was devoid of both its heart and its mind. Its heart, ancient Jerusalem, the historic site of the Holy Temple and the focus of the Jewish people's life and prayers remained under Arab occupation and its mind, the Torah, which God gave us to guide our actions, was not recognized as the supreme legal and spiritual authority.
Unfortunately, even God’s name is missing from Israel’s Declaration of Independence. 19 years later, on the 28th day of the same month Iyar, ancient Jerusalem was liberated in the Six-Day War of 1967. On that day, the holiest city on earth was reunited under Jewish sovereignty. It again became, to quote a verse in Psalms, “the city joined together.” The 28th of Iyar became known as Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushalayim).
Originally,this verse signified that in Jerusalem, heaven and earth; the mind and the heart are joined together. The sages state that our minds and hearts are joined together when we pray, “What Divine service is performed in the heart? Prayer!” Jerusalem is the heart of the Land of Israel and since the Land of Israel is the heart of the world, Jerusalem is like the innermost chamber of the world’s heart. As the site chosen by God for the Holy Temple, Jerusalem is the focal point of all Divine service, and hence the focal point of all peoples’ prayers and supplications before the Almighty.
The prophet Isaiah also wrote that “From Zion [Jerusalem], Torah will come out.” The Holy Temple in Jerusalem is the natural seat of both the mind and heart of humanity, where the two can truly be joined. This unity was symbolized in the first and second Temples by the Sanhedrin, the highest Torah court, that convened in a chamber that was partially within the Temple itself and partially outside. Unfortunately, because we have not yet merited to see the rejoining of the two (prayer and Torah study) on a national level in the modern state of Israel, Jerusalem Day has deteriorated over the years and is celebrated by less and less peop le. Indeed, there is a strong feeling of a chance that slipped away; as if we were given a golden opportunity to finally end our long exile, but for whatever reasons were not savvy enough to use it.
Indeed, despite these miraculous events, the modern State of Israel seems to be entangled in a deteriorating maze of crises. Terror and war threaten it on all sides. The custodians of the state daily surrender the Jewish people’s rights to the land, relinquishing vital, strategic areas to sworn enemies, while trampling on the principles most sacred to the Jewish people throughout the generations. The country is plagued by cultural rifts within its own society along political, religious, and sociological lines, and is morally weakened by a spent nationalist ideology that can no longer inspire its sons and daughters. It is now clear to all that, though millions of Jews have returned to the Promised Land and physically rebuilt it, the State of Israel is very far from fulfilling the Jewish vision of the true and complete redemption.
Nonetheless, the sages explain that God heals us differently than a human doctor. A human doctor first sees the malady and then finds the cure, but God first creates the cure and only then inflicts the wound. Likewise, God has provided us with the potential to rectify the seemingly hopeless situation of the Jewish people in the State of Israel. If we examine the workings of Divine Providence, we can discern the cure in the circumstances surrounding the establishment of the state and the liberation of Jerusalem.
Healing with Light
It is surely Divine Providence that the two most outstanding events in the relatively short history of modern Israel both occurred in the month of Iyar. To fully appreciate the significance of this, we must turn to the Torah- God’s plan of creation.
We must first consider the name of the month for God creates everything, whether tangible entities and temporal or spiritual phenomena through the spiritual energy contained in its Hebrew name. The month’s colloquial name Iyar ( א יִ יָר ) is cognate to the word “light” ( אוֹר ). But this is its Aramaic name. In the Bible there is one explicit reference to this month and there it is called Ziv ז וִ) ) meaning “brilliance” or “radiance.”
In Kabbalah, the word Iyar is explained as an acronym for the Biblical words, “I am God, your healer” (ָ א נֲ יִ י־הוה רֹפ אְ ךֶ ). Thus the month of Iyar is the month of Divine healing power, healing with light. The Ba’al Shem Tov applied the principle of healing with light in all situations. His advice: Do not attack darkness directly head on, but rather disarm it with light because a little light dispels a great deal of darkness.
A Second Chance
Why is healing with light particularly relevant to the situation in Israel today? To appreciate this let us examine the unique place the month of Iyar occupies in the Torah’s scheme of time. In the Torah there is only one holiday in the month of Iyar. It is known as the Second Passover (פֶסַח שֵׁני), on the 14th day of the month. Normally, we are commanded to celebrate Passover on the 14th day of Nisan, a month earlier. However, in cases when a person was ritually impure or too far away from the Temple on the 14th of Nisan and therefore unable to celebrate Passover by bringing a sacrifice to the Temple on that day, the Torah provides a second chance, the Second Passover. Although the Jewish year begins in the month of Tishrei, the months are counted from Nisan. Iyar is thus the second month of the year both in the ordinal sense and in as much as it is the month in which one is given a second chance.
Every holiday in the Jewish calendar teaches us a basic lesson in how to fulfill our purpose in life, how to serve God maximally year round. The message of the Second Passover and the general message of the month of Iyar is that it is never too late. No matter what situation we find ourselves in, no matter how low we have fallen, no matter how impure we may feel or how far away from our life's goal we are, we can always with God’s help rectify our situation.
And so it is with regard to the State of Israel. The fact that it was founded and its wars were fought and won in the month of Iyar teaches us that we must not despair. The power of light can overcome the darkness; it is never too late to rectify the situation. Our generation has been given the unique opportunity of joining the mind and heart of our people and the entire world together. By spreading Torah, the light of God everywhere, we will eventually succeed in restoring it as the ultimate message of God’s greatest gift and blessing: peace and life. As Maimonides ends his discussion of the laws of Chanukah, a holiday commemorating an earlier attempt to establish Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel, “The sole purpose for the giving of the Torah was to make peace in the world.”
chanoch adds: This peace will start with peace in the Middle East during the year 5774 and will manifest with the Shimittah year of 5775 culminating in the lunar eclipse in Sukkot of 5776.
This is a teaching of the Lubavitcher Rebbe from www.kabbalonline.org :
HaShem spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the Children of Israel, saying: "If someone becomes impure on account of a corpse or is on a distant journey…he may bring the Pesach offering on the fourteenth day of the second month…." (Num. 9:9-11)
The theme of Pesach Sheini (literally, "the second Passover," which takes place on the fourteenth of Iyar, one month after Passover) is that it is never too late. It is always possible to put things right. Even if one was spiritually impure or spiritually distant from his proper destination, G-d still gives him an opportunity to change the past and correct the wrongs. On Pesach Sheini one may have both matzah and leavened bread together with it in the house. It is not a festival (there is no prohibition of work), and there is no prohibition of leavened bread except with the Temple offering while it is being eaten.
(Rashi, from Pesachim 95ab)
There are two methods of serving G-d: the path of "righteousness" and the path of "repentance" (literally "teshuvah", literally "return"). The path of righteousness is represented by the regular Passover celebration. Those utilizing this method fulfill their mission directly: they stay away from impurity and do what is required. But because they operate within the context of the limited, material world, methodically elevating it and ascending through it, they must carry out their service systematically. Anyone who wishes to offer or eat the Passover sacrifice must be pure. There must not be any leaven - or the spiritual impurities it represents - to contravene divine consciousness. And even with all of that, it takes a full seven days to fully integrate and appreciate the spiritual energies of the holiday.Pesach Sheini on the other hand embodies the approach of teshuvah. In order to return to the proper path it is not enough to merely avoid impropriety; the individual must address the fact that he has succumbed to the forces of evil and use this fact to strengthen the weak point in his relationship with G-d. When he does this, he transforms the power of evil into holiness and his previous sin into a source of merit, thereby obtaining G-d's forgiveness for his misdeed. This capacity - the ability to change that which is already done and to overcome wrongs that have already been perpetrated - is drawn from a source of transcendent spirituality, a level beyond merit or iniquity. It taps the essential relationship between man and G-d, which is not predicated on our obedience to His will. This connection can never waver, for it is intrinsic in nature; the essence of the Jewish soul is one with G-d whether they obey His will or not. Because Pesach Sheini, is an exercise in transcendence, it does not require the methodical preparation required by the regular Pesach. The leaven need not be banished since we are ready to elevate it, too. Earlier impurity no longer matters for it cannot destroy this intrinsic connection. And one day is enough for this connection transcends time as well as behavioral issues. If, as has been explained, Pesach Sheini embodies a higher degree of divine service, why is it reserved for those who became defiled? Why could one who brought the sacrifice on the first Pesach not enjoy the sublimity of the second? How was he to achieve the advantages of transcendence? A sacrifice manifests connection (as the word for "sacrifice", "korban", is derived from the root meaning "closeness"). One who achieved the required connection to G-d through bringing the sacrifice in its proper time would achieve - through continuing to grow systematically - the second level of service as well, and did not require a special "jump". Over the course of the month following the first Pesach, their original connection initiated ever more sublime degrees of connection. Hence, they did not require any further catalysts to ensure this growth. It was only those who had deviated from the proper path and had never begun a proper journey of growth that needed to skip directly to the transcendent. They required a catalyst, an offering to be brought in the second month, because without that "jump", they would have remained helpless and unchanged. Why do we celebrate the Pesach Sheini nowadays? We were not obligated to bring the sacrifice on the first Pesach. Why do we mark the secondary choice? The answer is that we celebrate its spiritual meaning. We celebrate the added capacity to achieve a higher degree of spiritual connection. And we celebrate its lesson: No matter what may have happened in the past, no matter what we may have spoiled, it's never too late. We still have the ability and opportunity to change - not only our futures, but even the effects of the past. [Based on HaYom Yom, 14 Iyar; Likutei Sichot, vol. 18, pp. 120-2; vol. 33, pp. 58-61]
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