Second Chance!

In this week’s Parsha the Torah details a few complaints that broke out while the Jews were traveling in the desert.

The first came from a group who approached our leader Moshe with sincerity – they had come in contact with a corpse while burying the dead, a condition that precluded them from participation in the Pascal Lamb.

Sensing their earnestness and sincere desire to partake in the Pascal Lamb, Moshe presented the matter to G-d and G-d introduced a law that people who were impure and could not participate in the Pascal Lamb on Pesach, could make it up a month later, on the 14th of Iyar.

In general, if the time of a Mitzvah or date of a Holiday lapses without one participating in the Mitzva, there is no makeup date, since the observance and fulfillment is for that specific day or time prescribed by the Torah.

Here are some examples: Shabbos is the day that G-d ceased creative activities and He therefore sanctified it for us to observe. One can only observe Shabbos on the seventh day of the week. Rosh Hashana – the first day of Tishrei is the day that Adam was created, thus it is a day when mankind is judged. The 10th day of Tishrei is Yom Kippur and it is the day that Moshe descended from Mount Sinai with the second set of Tablets, indicating that G-d forgave them for the sin of the golden calf. The 15th day of Tishrei is when Succos begins – that is when the clouds of glory which surrounded the Jews returned after they disappeared as a result of the sin of the golden calf. The 6th day of Sivan is Shavuos – the day that G-d gave us the Torah at Mount Sinai.

None of these observances have a makeup date since the observances are specific to those particular dates set forth by the Torah.

In regards to Pesach, we know that the Jews in Egypt slaughtered the Pascal Lamb on the 14th day of Nisan and roasted and ate it with Matza and Moror on the night of the 15th of Nisan.

Thus forever, Pesach is observed on the 15th day of Nisan.

The question raised is, when G-d gave those that were impure a second chance to partake in the Pascal lamb a month later, what connection does it have with the Pascal Lamb at the time of the exodus from Egypt?

I came across the following answer offered by Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin o.b.m.

We know that every few years, an extra month is added to adjust our lunar calendar year to be in sync with the solar/seasons cycle.

In a year when the calendar is adjusted and the extra month Adar II is added, it means that when we celebrate Pesach that year in the adjusted month of Nisan, we are celebrating Pesach when it would have been Iyar if an extra month wasn’t added. Thus, the 14th of Iyar has a certain connection to Pesach – and was therefore chosen for the makeup date for the offering of the Pascal Lamb.

The Torah then relates other complaints that were borne out of frustration, anxiety and boredom. They complained about their food – the pure Manna that was provided to them from Heaven. They wanted meat to be provided for them as well. These complaints originated by the mixed multitude – the Egyptians that joined the Jews during the Exodus who were enthralled by G-d’s miracles. However, whenever these people met challenges, they were the first to begin to complain and cause problems.

Wanting meat was a baseless grievance because they all owned many cattle that could have been slaughtered and eaten. The griping of the mixed multitude caused the Jews to be swept into their complaints.

In general, people are influenced by the opinion of others, without thinking through the issues.

If those who heard the complaints of those who wanted meat would have reasoned to themselves and thought things through, they never would have joined those that complained and their lives would have been spared.

Today, we are watching this happen in real time. Many of those who chant anti-Jewish/Israel slogans, have no clue what they are saying. They are merely mimicking what they are told – without thinking it through.

This is the danger of blindly following the disgruntled, disillusioned and those with a fierce hatred towards us.

It’s nothing new. The Torah relates that it happened to us while we were in the desert.

The difference between those who wished to participate in the Pascal Lamb and those who wished meat, was that one wished for a solution while the others wished to complain.

As Jews we always have to be attentive to the basis of concerns that are raised. The more connectivity and respect there is to G-d, our Torah and tradition, the more solution driven we become and this can lead us to advance our spirituality, and confer blessings on our lives!