In this week’s parsha we find the famous story which led to the halachos of Pesach Sheni. As you will recall there were several individuals who were tamei and therefore were unable to bring the korban Pesach in the desert. They came to Moshe Rabbenu and Aharon Hakohen with an interesting request. The Torah tells us that they asked those 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. The halacha is – and was – if one was tamei he could not partake in the korban. So what exactly was their claim? Did they think that the rules would bend for them?
Rashi explains that they had requested to join together with other tahor people in the korban. Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l, points out that the halacha 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, but only to be a part of a group that was shechting one, without actually eating any of it.
Now we must ask ourselves, of what purpose is it to be 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, one has not fulfilled the mitzvah. What then was the true purpose of their request?
Rav Moshe answers that we learn from here a tremendous yesod. He explains that when someone loves something or someone, he will feel compelled to do all that he can for that thing or that person, even if it will not actually make a difference. In this scenario, he explains that these people who were 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 from 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 will not actually fulfill it.
Such is the case when someone loves something. They will want to do all that they can, try to help in any way, even if it may not actually help. In turn the recipient will feel the sincerity and appreciate 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 actually did something for them.
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. As a result, Hashem gave the mitzvah of Pesach Sheni through them. This powerful yesod is something that we can all learn from and apply to our daily lives and avodas Hashem.