Posts Tagged ‘Pesach Sheni’
One aspect of Divine Justice stipulates that through the decisions we make we help shape the world around us. Good deeds bring in their wake positive outcomes and the reverse is also true. In the mitzvah of the Second Pesach (Pesach Sheni), Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l, develops this understanding and finds that Hashem manipulated history specifically for the purpose of making such outcomes happen.
“And those men said to him, why should we be held back from offering the offering of Hashem?” (9:7). Why did Hashem not teach the law of Pesach Sheni to Moshe immediately when the general laws of Pesach had been taught, and why had it been necessary to wait until these men put the question to Moshe?
This was Hashem’s stratagem to teach a lesson and bestow honor on the righteous ones. “A meritorious matter is caused to be brought into being by means of meritorious men” (Shabbos 32a). Hashem intentionally omitted any mention of Pesach Sheni when He spoke to Moshe on the laws of Pesach, and Moshe was caused by Hashem to refrain from inquiring. This “hiatus” in the Pesach laws awaited the virtuous men who would be honored by having their inquiry and Hashem’s reply recorded in the eternal Torah. Similarly, “Harm is caused to be brought about by guilty ones” (ibid).
The decree to keep the sons of Israel as wanderers in the wilderness for 40 years was actually planned beforehand but was not made known until the sin of the spies, in order to impart the lesson that the sentence of 40 years in the wilderness was caused by the guilty meraglim. Similarly, “Moshe proved worthy, and he caused the public to become worthy” (Avos 5:21): Because Moshe was the most virtuous, he was made the agent of causing the Exodus and the Giving of the Torah, though these events were foreseen and been intended from the beginning (Bereishis 9:27, 15:13-14).
In this episode Hashem teaches another principle as well: Even when a man is absolved from any obligation to perform a mitzvah, he should desire the opportunity to be obligated. These men had not been able to participate in the Pesach sacrifice and they were therefore blameless, according to the principle “The Torah absolves in unavoidable circumstances” (Bava Kama 28b). But it is not sufficient to be absolved, for the loss of the positive achievement is in itself a cause of intense regret in the minds of the righteous.
Because of the merit of these righteous men who longed for opportunities to be obligated in mitzvos, Hashem arranged that the subject of Pesach Sheni be revealed at their instigation. Otherwise, had they not inquired, Hashem would have taught the laws of the second Pesach offering to Moshe together with the laws of the first Pesach offering (Shemos 12).
Similarly, the poor man who has no money should regret the loss of opportunity to perform the mitzvah of charity to the poor. Jews in exile should regret the loss of the mitzvah of terumah and maaser. “The early chassidim longed to bring a sin-offering” (Nedarim 10a) which they could not do because they did not sin. And today we declare our regret that “We are not able to go up and to… do our obligations in Your chosen House” (Mussaf of Yom Tov). In a certain sense, the failure to perform a mitzvah is more regrettable than the sin of performing a transgression.
In Gehinnom the sinner is cleansed of the stains of his iniquities after a period of chastisement, and then he goes on to enjoy the reward for his mitzvos in eternal happiness. Thus the punishment for some sins is limited, but the payment for mitzvos is unlimited and eternal. (Journey Into Greatness)
Compiled for The Jewish Press by the Rabbi Avigdor Miller Simchas Hachaim Foundation, a project of Yeshiva Gedolah Bais Yisroel, which Rabbi Miller, zt”l, founded and authorized to disseminate his work. Subscribe to the Foundation’s free e-mail newsletters on marriage, personal growth, and more at www.SimchasHachaim.com.
For more information, or to sponsor a Simchas Hachaim Foundation program, call 718-258-7400 or e-mail info@SimchasHachaim.com.Rabbi Avigdor Miller
This is it. The week of hod, which means the inner beauty of the majesty of Hashem. This year it began on Sunday, which was Pesach Sheni, recognized as the yahrzeit of Rabbi Meir Baal HaNes, and on Thursday this week we celebrate the amazing day of Lag B’Omer, the yahrzeit of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and the day the 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva finally stopped dying.
Lag B’Omer is hod she’behod – splendor of splendor – a hint that every Jew, every member of our charming nation, has the power to enter deep into the innermost chambers of Hashem’s majestic kingdom, where a humble prayer can turn death into life.
The year was 1995, and I was celebrating Pesach Sheni at my kiosk, located about 200 feet from view of the Western Wall. We had wine and matzahs and we talked about this holiday of getting a second chance – our ancestors who weren’t able to bring the Paschal sacrifice at the appointed time because they were defiled were told by Hashem that one month later, on the 14th of Iyar, they would get a second chance.
Suddenly someone rushed over to me and said, “Dov, you’ve got to get to Shaare Zedek Hospital; your father had two heart attacks and is now on the operating table fighting for his life.”
I jump up and told myself, “Dov, get to the Kotel fast with your check book. Do chesed on this first day of the week of hod, which is called chesed she’behod. This is better than just waiting to hear the outcome next to the operating room. So I run to the Kotel and each person asking for a few coins got an 18-Shekel check while inside myself I was shouting, “Please, Hashem, save my father’s life!”
My father had gone to the hospital to get a simple procedure to clear the arteries. The procedure failed and the doctor made a terrible mistake in what he did next. The botched effort caused my dad to have not one but two heart attacks. The chief surgeon scolded the doctor for his mistake and tried to save my dad’s life.
My father was in his twelfth year as rabbi of Kehilat Mogen Avraham in Efrat. His congregants needed him; he was only 77 years old.
When I came to the waiting room, everyone was crying – my mother, my brothers, and the doctor who’d blundered. I had my twelve-year-old son with me and my mother said, “Dov, take your son to the bus stop so he’s not here when we get the ‘news.’ ”
I took my son down to the bus and then, in the parking lot of Shaare Zedek, I called out to Hashem: “Please, God, give me the prayer I should pray to You to save my father’s life.”
And like a lightning bolt the thought shot into my head: “Today is Pesach Sheni, the yahrzeit of Rabbi Meir Baal HaNes (master of miracles).”
“Yes,” I shouted, and then I chanted the traditional words one says when giving to the many Rav Meir Baal HaNes charities for the poor in Israel.
“God of Meir, answer me! In the merit of the radio shows that I did totally free of charge every Thursday night for two years on behalf of Kollel America, the Rabbi Meir Baal HaNes charity for poor Americans living in Israel, save my father’s life!”
I went back up to the waiting room with a heavy heart. From a distance I saw everybody jumping for joy. The same people who’d been crying only 15 minutes before were now dancing!
Why all the joy? My brother said, “Dov, you missed it. The surgeon just came out and said the operation had ended and there is hope.”
I thought to myself, “I missed it? I made it!”
Three days later I stood by my father’s side in the intensive care unit. I felt I should go to the tomb of Rabbi Meir Baal HaNes in Tiberius and thank him and then shoot over to the grave of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai in Meron on Lag B’Omer and somehow get Rabbi Shimon’s assurance that my dad would have a refuah sheleimah, a complete recovery.
Before I left I said to my father, “Daddy, say some Tehillim, please!”
My father, still on oxygen and rigged up to machines, began reciting the words of Psalm 130, “From the depths I call out…if God watches our sins who would survive, for You are He that forgives!” Here my father suddenly stopped his recitation, and I left for Tiberius and Meron.
When I got to the grave of Rabbi Shimon there were thousands of Jews from all over the world there. I pushed my way to the great bonfire atop the grave. In my hand I had the book of stories of Rabbi Shimon that I bring with me each year. I spoke to Rabbi Shimon and begged him, “When I open this book to any page…please give me a sign that my father will survive and have a complete recovery.”Dov Shurin
Vol. LXIII No. 18 5772
New York City CANDLE LIGHTING TIME
May 4, 2012 – 12 Iyar 5772 7:36 p.m. NYC E.D.T.
Sabbath Ends: 8:47 p.m. NYC E.D.T.
Weekly Reading: Acharei Mot-Kedoshim
Weekly Haftara: Ha’lo Ki’venei Kushiyim (Amos 9:7-15)
Daf Yomi: Me’ilah 19
Mishna Yomit: Yevamos 2:1-2
Halacha Yomit: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayyim 51:3-5
Rambam Yomi: Hilchos Kiddush HaChodesh chap. 9-11
Earliest time for Tallis and Tefillin: 4:51 a.m. NYC E.D.T.
Latest Kerias Shema: 9:22 a.m. NYC E.D.T.
Pirkei Avos: Ch. 3 Sefiras HaOmer: 27
This coming Motzaei Shabbos and Sunday, the 14th of Iyar, is Pesach Sheni. Some do not say Tzidkas’cha at the Mincha service of the preceding day.
It is customary to eat matza at one meal at least, even with chametz in the house [at the table] – based upon the Mishna in Pesachim 95a: “…On the second [Passover, i.e. Pesach Sheni] one may have in his house both chametz and matza.” (The Talmud ad loc. explains that this halacha is derived through exegesis of the Thirteen Principles.)
This coming Wednesday evening and Thursday is Lag BaOmer – the 33rd day of the Omer – a break in the sorrowful period when we do not cut our hair or rejoice with music. On Lag BaOmer we may cut our hair and hold weddings and other celebrations with music. There are various minhagim regarding the exact length and time frame of this mourning period. See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayyim 493, where these minhagim are clearly delineated. We do not say Yehi Ratzon at conclusion of Torah reading nor do we say Tachanun on Lag BaOmer as well as the day preceding.
The following chapters of Tehillim are being recited by many congregations and Yeshivos for our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisrael: Chapter 83, 130, 142. – Y.K.SRabbi Yaakov Klass
QUESTION: What is the significance of Pesach Sheni, which seems to be just another notation on the calendar?
Coconut Creek, FL
ANSWER: Pesach Sheni is indeed more than just a mere notation on the calendar. We find the following in a mishna in Tractate Rosh Hashana (18a): “For six [different] months, the messengers would go forth [Rashi explains s.v. “shisha chodashim” that this was in the earlier times, before our pre-calculated calendar was put into use, when Beit Din would send messengers, upon whose testimony they relied, to report if a new moon was present in order to calculate the start of the months and holidays]; Nissan [calculations were made] for Passover, Av for the fast [Tisha B’av], Elul for Rosh Hashana, Tishrei for the setting of the Festivals. Kislev for Chanukah, and Adar for Purim. When the Holy Temple stood, they would go forth even on Iyar for Pesach Kattan (lit., little Passover, meaning that this was a minor festival).”
Rashi s.v. “Pesach Kattan” explains this as referring to Pesach Sheni [which occurs on the 14th of Iyar, based on the verses in Parashat Beha’alotcha, Numbers 9:9-11] “Daber el B’nei Yisrael lemor, ish ish ki yi’hiyeh tamei lanefesh, o b’derech rechoka lachem, o l’doroteichem ve’asa Pesach L’Hashem bachodesh hasheni b’arba’a asar yom bein ha’arbaim ya’asu oto al matzot u’merorim yochluhu – [G-d told Moses] Speak to the Children of Israel saying, if any man will become impure through a corpse or [will be] on a distant road, whether you or your [future] generations, he shall make the Passover offering for G-d in the second month [Iyar], on the 14th day in the afternoon shall they make it, with matzot and bitter herbs shall they eat it.”
Thus, the Torah offered one who was either ritually defiled or who was kept away from the Beit Hamikdash another opportunity to bring his Passover offering, on Pesach Sheni. Rashi seems to be the first to refer to this minor Passover as ‘Pesach Sheni,’ lit., the second Pesach.
As to the mishna’s referring to the day as Pesach Katan, meaning little or minor Passover, Rabbi Zev Cohen, in his sefer Bein Pesach L’Shavuos (Kitzur Hadinim 5:37-38) explains that it is only observed for one day and not seven, as the first Passover is. Also, the second Passover has many leniencies. Thus, compared to the first Passover, the second is ‘minor’.
Rabbi Cohen adds that it is proper to learn about Pesach Sheni (in Parashat Beha’alotcha) and its laws on the 14th of Iyar, when the offering was made, and again on the following evening (the 15th of Iyar) when the offering was eaten.
Further, R. Cohen states, “Though Pesach Sheni is not a festival and one is permitted to perform labor, it is nonetheless proper to rejoice somewhat.”
We find other halachos pertaining to Pesach Sheni, as well, including those regarding prayer. Sha’arei Teshuva (Orach Chayyim 131), quoting the Sha’arei Tziyon, states, “Those that do not fall Nefilat Apayim (lit., the falling on one’s face) in prayer and say Tachanun on the 14th of Iyar because of Pesach Katan, do so on the 15th. In Saloniki they protest strongly against one who does not do this, and such is the custom as well in Kushta, in Israel and in Egypt – to say it on the 15th.”
Sefer Likutei M’harich (p. 113) mentions the above, and also quotes Pri Megadim, Orach Chayyim (ad. loc.), who states that our custom is to say Tachanun on the 14th of Iyar as well. In addition, Likutei M’harich discusses Sefer Eishel Avraham (Orach Chayyim, ad. loc.) who had the custom not to say Tachanun on the 14th. Eishel Avraham further comments that as we are t’mei’ei meitim – all considered as virtually defiled via a corpse, and thus we would not have been able to offer a sacrifice at the appropriate time, we fulfill our obligations on Passover at the seder with the recitation of the Hagada. [It would thus seem that Pesach Sheni is of no consequence to us.] Nevertheless, it is correct to remind G-d of the merit of the Pesach Sheni, which was offered in the time the Holy Temple stood.
Sefer Likutei M’harich also discusses the opinion of Hagashot Yad Shaul (Yoreh Deah 401) which is that even though in the Gemara (Pesachim 95) we rule that the evening is not sanctioned as a festival and one does not say Hallel (Rashi ad. loc. defines the evening as that of Pesach Sheni) nevertheless, neither do we say Tachanun. The custom of the Gaon of Liske (Sefer Hayashar V’Hatov Vol. 2) is also mentioned. He did not say Tachanun for seven days (on Pesach Sheni and afterward). Hagashot Yad Shaul (ad. loc.) further rules that as regard the fast of B’hab (lit., Monday, Thursday, Monday), referring to the custom of fasting on
these three days following a festival, if this occurred on Pesach Sheni, one would not fast.
Eishel Avraham (ad. loc.) disagrees and rules that not only would one fast, but Selichot would be recited as well; however, Tachanun would be omitted just as we are accustomed to
doing when a brit occurs on a fast day.
Likutei M’harich then notes that it is the custom of people of piety and great deeds to eat matza on Pesach Sheni, the 14th of Iyar. He poses a question: Was not Pesach Sheni observed by eating the sacrifice on the next evening (the 15th) as well, and how can that be commemorated today? The explanation provided is that indeed, the Gaon Imrei Esh, as
well as his father-in-law Rabbi Dovid Deitch, would eat matza on the eve of the 15th as well, together with a cooked egg, and they also studied the subject of Pesach Sheni in the Torah
along with its halachot, as described in Sefer Zichron Yehuda.
It is our custom today to eat matza at least at one meal, even with chametz present in the house [at the table]. This is based upon the mishna (Pesachim 95a), ‘… on the second (Pesach Sheni) one may have in his house both chametz and matza.
In the sefer of Rabbi Z. Cohen (ad. loc.), we find three other halachot regarding Pesach Sheni, dealing with death and mourning: One does not offer a eulogy or say Tzidduk Hadin. One does not recite the Kel Maleh, hazkarat neshamot for the memory of the souls. Finally, unveilings of monuments for the departed are not performed on this day.
In the merit of this discussion, may we again rejoice in our Holy Temple with the bringing of the Passover sacrifices. May it be built speedily in our days.
QUESTION: I have noticed that when we eat the matza at the seder on Passover, we recite the blessing of Hamotzi lechem min ha’aretz, followed by Al achilat matza. Why don’t we say Al achilat matza when we eat matza during the remainder of Passover?
ANSWER: To answer your question, let us review the pertinent halachot related to the proper time and place for the blessing of Al achilat matza.
Rambam (Hilchot Chametz U’Matza 6:1) rules as follows: “It is a mitzvat aseh, a positive precept from the Torah, to eat matza on the eve of the fifteenth [day of Nissan], for it states,
‘Ba’erev tochlu matzot… – In the evening you shall eat matzot…’ (Exodus 12:18). This applies everywhere and at any time [that is, even in the Diaspora and even today, when we do not offer sacrifices in the Holy Temple].
“The [mitzva] of eating [the matza] is not dependent on the paschal sacrifice; rather, it is a distinct mitzva on its own. Its proper time of performance is during the course of the entire
evening. However, for the remainder of the festival the eating of matza is optional. If one wishes, one eats matza or if he so wishes, he may (Note: this is according to the Sephardic
tradition) eat rice or millet, or parched ears of corn or fruit.
“But on the evening of the fifteenth of Nissan, it [the eating of matza] is obligatory, and when one has eaten an amount equivalent to the size of an olive, he has discharged his obligation.”
Rambam bases this ruling on the Gemara (Pesachim 120a), where we find the following discussion: “Rava says, ‘Nowadays [when there is no paschal sacrifice] matza is a Biblical
obligation whereas maror (bitter herbs) is only a Rabbinic obligation.'” The Gemara asks: “How does maror differ? It is written (Numbers 9:11) ‘[Bachodesh hasheni be’arba’ah asar
yom bein ha’arbayim ya’asu oto] al matzot u’merorim yochluhu – [In the second month (Iyar) on the fourteenth day in the late afternoon shall they make it (the Pesach Sheni offering, for
those who could not offer the regular Passover sacrifice in its proper time)], with matzot and bitter herbs shall they eat it.'”
It thus follows that when there is a paschal sacrifice [or the one offered on Pesach Sheni] there is an obligation to eat the bitter herbs; but when there is no paschal sacrifice there is no Biblical requirement to eat bitter herbs either.
The Gemara proceeds to ask: “If so, don’t we say the same regarding matza, for it is also included in the quoted verse, ‘al matzot u’merorim yochluhu,’ yet we do not offer the Passover
sacrifice nowadays? The answer provided is: “The verse (Exodus 12:18) repeats the precept ‘…Ba’erev tochlu matzot… – …In the evening you shall eat matzot…’ [in effect making the eating of matza a Biblical requirement].”
R. Aha b. Jacob disagrees and says, “Both [matza and maror] are [only] Rabbinical requirements.” The Gemara responds with the argument that “it is stated, indeed (loc. cit.) ‘…In the evening you shall eat matzot…’ [which classifies eating matza as a Biblical requirement].”
R. Aha b. Jacob will argue: “That verse is necessary in the instance of one who was defiled (through contact with a corpse) [but who will be cleansed by the evening], or one who was on
a journey some distance away (during the day). One might assume that since they do not (i.e., cannot) partake of the paschal sacrifice, they are exempt from eating matza and maror. Therefore the verse tells us that they are nevertheless required to eat matza.”
Rava argues that regarding one who is ritually defiled or on a distant journey, there is no need for a special mention in the verse to include them in the requirement of eating matza, since
they are in no worse situation than one who is uncircumcised or an alienated Jew, i.e., an apostate. As we learned in a baraita, the verse in Exodus (12:48) states, ‘…Vechol arel lo yochal bo – No uncircumcised man shall eat thereof (the paschal sacrifice).’ But he must eat matza and maror.
R. Aha b. Jacob would argue that the requirement to eat matza stated in Exodus (12:48) applies to the uncircumcised and the apostate, while the other verse (Numbers 9:11) refers
to the ritually defiled or one who is on a distant journey, and therefore both verses are necessary. (Rashbam ad loc. – s.v. ketiv behai u’chetiv behai – explains: “I would not derive the case of one who is defiled and one who is on a journey from the case of an uncircumcised man and an alienated Jew, for the former two have an opportunity to fulfill their obligation on
Pesach Sheni (the 15th of Iyar), whereas the latter two may never partake of the paschal sacrifice. Therefore I would argue that the former should wait until Pesach Sheni and then
discharge their obligation to eat matza and maror with the paschal sacrifice, whereas the latter should eat matza and maror on Passover itself, as they will not be able to partake of the paschal sacrifice even on Pesach Sheni [should they remain in their present status]. Thus I can’t derive one from the other [and the verses are not repetitive].”)
The Gemara concludes with a baraita that agrees with Rava. “The Torah states (Deuteronomy 16:8), ‘Sheshet yamim tochal matzot u’vayom ha’shevi’i atzeret la’Hashem Elokeicha, lo ta’aseh melacha – Six days you shall eat matzot and on the seventh day there shall be an assembly for Hashem, your G-d; you shall not perform any labor.’ We deduce that just as on the seventh day the eating of matza is optional, so, too, is it optional on the [other] six days.”
The Gemara then asks: “What is the reason [for this interpretation]? It [the seventh day] was included in a general category and was subsequently singled out to teach a law. [One of the principles of exegesis is: kol davar shehaya bichlal ve’yatza min ha’clal le’lammed … – Anything that was included in a general statement, but was then singled out from the general statement in order to teach something, was not singled out to teach only about itself…] The Gemara now
explains that it was singled out to teach regarding the entire general category.
We would have thought (according to this exegesis) that the eating of matza on the first night [of Passover] is also optional, therefore it states, “with matzot and bitter herbs shall they eat it.”
The Gemara now reasons: “We would assume that this only applies in the time of the Holy Temple. But how do we know that today, when we are bereft of our Holy Temple, one is still
Biblically obligated to eat matza [the first night(s)]? The verse states, ‘In the evening you shall eat matzot’. The verse thus established it as a requirement [even though there is no possibility of a Passover sacrifice].”
We now refer to the Gemara’s earlier discussion (115b) of the seder – literally, the “order of the ritual” on the first night of Passover. There we find the following statement: “Samuel said, ‘Lechem oni (Deuteronomy 16:3), lit. bread of affliction, can be interpreted as bread over which we recite (onin) many words. In support of this interpretation there is a baraita that
refers to lechem oni as bread over which we answer many things. Another interpretation of lechem oni is lechem ani, bread of the poor. Just as the poor person usually eats a broken-off piece [of bread], so here too (at the seder) we eat a broken piece [of matza]…”
We find similarly in Tractate Berachot (39b): “R. Pappa says, ‘All are in agreement that on Passover [at the seder] one places the broken piece [of matza] under the whole one and breaks them together. What is the reason? It states, ‘Lechem oni – bread of affliction (poverty)’.”
Rashi and Rashbam (Pesachim 116a s.v. af kan bi’perusa) comment that (at the seder) we bless Al achilat matza on the broken piece of matza, and on the whole matzot we bless Hamotzi, as Passover is no different than other festivals (and Shabbat – to which they are all compared), when one is required to bless over two whole loaves and one then slices and
eats from one of those whole loaves.
Tosafot (ad. loc.) s.v. “Mah darko shel ani bi’perusa” note an inconsistency. Rashi and Rashbam (in Berachot) state that we bless Hamotzi on the whole matza together with the broken one, not on the two whole matzot. Tosafot reconcile this last statement with R. Pappa’s, noting that we indeed bless Hamotzi on the whole matza together with the broken one, and include the third whole matza for the purpose of lechem mishneh, which is the requirement to use two whole loaves (challot or matzot). Yet Tosafot also cite the R”I, who would bless Hamotzi on the whole matza and recite Al achilat matza on the broken piece, and then include the third [whole] matza in order to accomplish the mitzva with all three.
Whichever way we view this Gemara, we note that it is only at the seder that we require a perusa, a slice or broken piece (which symbolizes the special mitzva of the evening, namely,
to eat matza for its own sake as a remembrance of lechem oni), and only there do we recite Al achilat matza. Indeed, based upon these Talmudic passages, the Tur and R. Yosef Caro, (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayyim 473-475) describe the seder plate, the ke’ara, as containing, among other items, three matzot [in accordance with Rashi, Rashbam, Tosafot and the Rosh, but at variance with the Rif ad. loc. and Rambam (Hilchot Chametz U’Matza 8:6), who require only two matzot]. The Mechaber continues (ibid. 475) by saying, “We take the
matzot the way they have been placed in one’s hand, the two whole ones with the broken one in the middle, and we bless [first] Hamotzi and then Al achilat matza”.
The Taz ad. loc. explains the reason and expounds that according to some poskim, we bless Hamotzi on the whole matza and Al achilat matza on the broken one.
Thus it should be clear that only when we have a perusa, a broken piece of matza, together with other matzot do we utter the blessing of Al achilat matza.
(To be continued)