Divrei Torah

The Divrei Torah in this section have been translated by Rav Reuven Ungar, Director of Alumni Affairs

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Pesach Sheni

By: Rav Yechezkel Yakovson

The Torah enables an individual who did not bring the Karban Pesach (the Paschal lamb) at the appointed time (the 14th of Nissan) to bring the sacrifice a month later on the 14th of Iyar-Pesach Sheni. The gemara in Masechet Pesachim delves into the status of Pesach Sheni. Is it an independent entity, a rectification (for not sacrificing the Karben Pesach in Nissan) or a replacement ( tashlumin) for the first Karben Pesach.

The gemara outlines various practical ramifications of this topic. The Rambam maintains that Pesach Sheni is independent; thus a person who accidentally ( shogeg) did not sacrifice the Karban Pesach in Nissan and willingly ( mazid) did not bring the Karban on Pesach Sheni is liable to be punished with karet.

What is the halacha if the Beit HaMikdash is rebuilt between the 14th of Nissan and the 14th of Iyar? Due to its independent nature, one would assume that the Jewish People would be required to sacrifice the Karban Pesach on Pesach Sheni. However, this is not the case.

Pesach Sheni applies to individuals. The majority of the Jewish people are not subject to a delay ( dechiya) of the Karben Pesach in regards to defilement via contact with the dead. Thus, in the above scenario, the Karben Pesach would not be brought on Pesach Sheni. Indeed, there is a controversy regarding the recitation of tachanun on Pesach Sheni. Due to the public nature of tachanun- tefillat hatzibbur- it appears that tachanun should be recited, for Pesach Sheni is applies exclusively to the individual.

Pesach Sheni exists primarily in the domain of the halachot of karbanot. However, the Zohar states that on Pesach Sheni the gates of Heaven are opened (this constitutes a source omitting tachanun on Pesach Sheni). What concept is being expressed by the Zohar?

Pesach Sheni illustrates that one can always rectify previous misdeeds. The Rambam rules that a person who willingly did not bring the Karban Pesach in Nissan may utilize Pesach Sheni, thus avoiding karet. Despite the fact that life has its share of ups and downs, we can always ascend to greater heights.

Another facet of Pesach Sheni is the contrast between individuals and the community ( tzibbur). The community is more than a sum of all the parts. Similarly, the Torah learned in a yeshiva is markedly different than Torah st udied in a private setting.


Categorized under: 1: Chagim > Pesach
Uploaded: 8/31/2005 6:05:14 PM