Photo Credit: Jewish Press
Round hand-made "shmurah matzah" is becoming more popular even among secular Jews in the United States.

This Saturday night the Jewish world marks the start of the 25-hour period known as “Pesach Sheni” – the Second Passover. On this day, Jews around the world mark the day by eating matzah, again, and often choose “shmurah” matzah these day to underline the commandment. Shmurah matzah is round matzah that is handmade with flour that is specially produced and carefully watched from the time it is grown in the field, through its harvest, milling and baking.

Pesach Sheni is the day on which someone who was unable to participate in the Passover offering at the proper time, would observe the mitzvah (commandment), one month later.

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Here’s how that happened: In the year after the Exodus from Egypt, God instructed the People of Israel to bring the Passover offering on the afternoon of the 14 of the Hebrew month of Nissan, to roast it and eat it that evening together with matzah and bitter herbs, as they had done the previous year prior to leaving Egypt.

Read: Numbers, Chapter 9:1-23

As we read in Numbers 9:6-7, however: “There were, however, certain persons who had become ritually impure through contact with a dead body and could not, therefore prepare the Passover offering on that day. They approached Moses and Aaron . . . and they said: . . . Why should we be deprived, and not be able to present God’s offering in its time, among the children of Israel?”

For this reason, God establish Pesach Sheni – the Second Passover – on the 14th of Iyar, for those who were unable to bring their offering on the appointed time in Nissan.

In its deeper meaning, the day represents a “second chance” achieved through the power of teshuva – repentance, or “return.”

Jews around the world also mark this day with the custom of omitting the recitation of supplications during the daily prayers.

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