In this week’s parsha we find the famous story that lead to the teaching of the halachos of Pesach Sheni. As you will recall are several individuals who are tamei and therefore unable to bring the korban Pesach in the desert. They come to Moshe Rabbenu and Aharon Hakohen with an interesting request. The Torah tells us they asked these memorable words, “Lama neigara – Why should we lose out?” They too wanted to partake in the korban.
The problem was they were unfit to do so. As with many things in life, there are rules, and the rules of the korban Pesach were such that if one was tamei, he could not partake in the korban. So what exactly was their claim? Did they think that the rules should be bent for them?
Rashi explains that they requested to join together with a group of tahor people in the korban. Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l points out that the halachah is that if a group of people join together in a korban pesach and some of them are tahor and some of them are tamei, the tamei ones may not eat from the korban. If that is the case, then essentially, the tamei people in this week’s parsha were not requesting to actually eat the korban, just to be a part of the group that is shechting the korban without actually eating it.
Now we ask ourselves, what is the purpose of being part of a korban pesach group if one does not get to eat the korban? The mitzvah is only to eat the korban. Without eating it, one has not fulfilled the mitzvah. What then is the true purpose of their request?
Rav Moshe answers that we learn here a tremendous yesod. He explains that when someone loves something or someone, he will feel compelled to everything he can for that thing or that person, even if it does not actually make a difference. In this scenario, he explains that these people who are tamei had a tremendous love for the mitzvos, which manifested itself in their desire to partake in the mitzvah even though they would not fulfill the actual mitzvah. They just wanted to do as much as they could to be involved with the mitzvah. Rav Moshe derives here that we are to love mitzvos in the same manner and even if we are unable to perform a mitzvah for whatever reason, we should attempt to do some aspect of it even if we are unable to actually fulfill it.
Such is the case when someone loves something. They will want to do everything they can to try to help in anyway possible, even if it may not actually help. In turn, the recipient feels the sincerity and appreciates it.
In English there is a saying, “It’s the thought that counts.” Sometimes if a person sees that you sincerely tried to do something for them they will appreciate it as if you had actually done something for them. The truth is that saying has its origins in the Torah, as the Gemara teaches us that if one tried to do a mitzvah and was unable to perform it, Hashem considers it as if he had performed it (Kedushin 40a).
As we find in this week’s parsha, Hashem saw the sincerity of these people who truly loved the mitzvos and so much wanted to partake in the mitzvah that as a result, Hashem gave the mitzvah of Pesach Sheni through them. Perhaps this is the meaning of the prayer we recite in birchas krias shema, May Hashem attach our hearts to the mitzvos. May it be His will, amen.