Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pesach Sheni

Daily Word (Courtesy of B.L.Jenkins Sr.)

Today is Pesach Sheni, "the Second Passover,." The origin of this semi-holiday is quite fascinating. On the first anniversary of the Exodus, while all the Jews were occupied with preparing their lambs for the annual Paschal Offering, Moses was approached by a small group of Jews who were ritually impure and thus excluded from offering, or partaking of, the Passover Lamb. "Why should we be deprived?" they exclaimed. "We, too, want to experience the spiritual freedom gained by participating in the Passover service!" Moses agreed to convey their grievance to the Almighty, and incredibly, the heartfelt wishes of this small group caused G-d to add a mitzvah to the Torah. G-d instructed that from that year and onwards all those who weren't capable of offering the Passover Lamb in its proper time on the 14Th of Nisan, due to impurity or distance from the Temple, should offer the Passover Lamb exactly one month later, on the 14Th of Iyar. This is the holiday of the second chance.

Is there some dream you feel has been lost? Is there a lost opportunity that you seek to regain? If so, today's holiday is made for you. The second Passover left some Jews unable to participate because of impurity. Yet, on their petition to G-d, He gave them another chance! Do you want another chance? If so, go to G-d today and tell Him your dream.

Remember, Jewish holidays are not commemorations of historical events; rather, they are spiritual reenactments. No two holidays are alike. Every holiday features a distinct spiritual energy, offering us the opportunity to gain inspiration and the necessary spiritual powers in a specific area of our service of G-d. On Passover we receive the strength to liberate ourselves from our natural enslavement to our impulses and destructive habits.

The lesson of Pesach Sheni is that it is never too late. Never think: "everyone else has already left Egypt weeks ago and is well on their way toward receiving the Torah—and I haven't even begun my spiritual journey! I'm impure!" Don't despair, you too can make the Passover leap and join everyone else in their state of Redemption, worthy of receiving the Torah on the holiday of Pentecost. Today, remember your dream and go live it!

Note: Perhaps you know someone who might benefit from this word. If so, feel free to copy and paste it to them. You have my permission. BLJ SR.

The Power of Return (Courtesy of

"The eternal significance of the Second Passover, says the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn (1880-1950), is that it is never too late to rectify a past failing. Even if a person has failed to fulfill a certain aspect of his or her mission in life because s/he has been "contaminated by death" (i.e., in a state of disconnection from the divine source of life) or "on a distant road" from his people and G-d, there is always a Second Passover in which s/he can make good on what s/he has missed out.

The Second Passover thus represents the power of teshuvah -- the power of return. Teshuvah is commonly translated as repentance, but it is much more than turning a new leaf and achieving forgiveness for past sins. It is the power to go back in time and redefine the past.

Teshuvah is achieved when a negative deed or experience is applied in a way that completely transforms its significance. When a person's contact with death evokes in him a striving for life he would never have mustered without that experience; when his wanderings on distant roads awaken in him a yearning for home he would never have otherwise felt -- these hitherto negative experiences are literally turned inside out. Contact with death is transformed into a more intense involvement with life; distance into a greater closeness."

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