In Hashem's Hands
I was once in the Bucharim section of Yerushalayim waiting
for a bus when I suddenly realized that I did not have any
money with me. For a second I panicked, wondering what to do.
Suddenly I caught myself and thought, "Is it really the money
that allows us to travel? Isn't it ultimately Hashem who
takes a person from one place to another?"
While I was pondering this newly discovered recognition, a
car stopped and offered me a ride to my destination.
At times we get so involved with the practical aspects of
life that we tend to forget that without Hashem's constant
help we cannot as much as lift up our smallest finger. The
korbon Pesach helps us to internalize the principle
that G-d runs our lives.
A person may have made numerous preparations and have the
best intentions, but if he becomes tomei or must be
outside of Yerushalayim before Yom Tov he cannot bring a
korbon Pesach. Only with Divine protection from these
outside forces can one successfully fulfill this mitzvah.
Generally, once a person missed out on doing a mitzvah he has
lost out. On the fourteenth of Iyar, Pesach Sheini, we have
the unique opportunity to make up a mitzvah and bring the
korbon Pesach that we missed. The "second chance" to
do a mitzvah teaches us that Hashem controls everything, and
instills within our hearts that even the fulfillment of
mitzvos is under His jurisdiction. Just as He made a person
tomei or distanced from the Beis Hamikdosh, He
can give another chance to do this mitzvah.
Changes in Tefilloh
Surprisingly, the Shulchan Oruch and Rema do not mention
Pesach Sheini among the special days that Tachanun is
not recited (Orach Chaim 131:1). Gedolei haposkim
agreed with this ruling, and the Chazon Ish said
Tachanun on Pesach Sheini (Mishbetzos Zohov
131:15; Orchos Rabbeinu p. 68). However many later
poskim write that it is not said on Pesach Sheini, and
the general custom follows this ruling, and does not recite
Tachanun in Shacharis or Minchah of
Pesach Sheini (Sha'arei Teshuvoh 131:7).
Generally, even prior to the arrival of Shabbos or Yom Tov
the afternoon beforehand is already affected by the
kedushoh of the festival. Therefore the afternoon
before Shabbos and Yom Tov is referred to as erev
Shabbos and erev Yom Tov, literally a mixture of
Shabbos (or Yom Tov) and weekday. For this reason on days
that Tachanun is not said, generally it is not recited
in the Minchah beforehand either.
Pesach Sheini is an exception to this rule. Since the
korbon was only shechted in the afternoon of
the fourteenth, the day before does not get this status. For
the same reason, Tachanun is said on the fifteenth of
Iyar, the day after Pesach Sheini. Although some communities
do not say Tachanun on these days, the general custom
is to recite it (Shaarei Teshuvoh ibid. and Luach
"Anyone who did not witness the simchas beis hashoeva
(the ceremony of the drawing of the water on Succos), never
saw simchah in his lifetime" (Succah 51a).
During the week the joy of this ceremony was increased by the
musical accompaniment of flutes. On Shabbos and Yom Tov it is
forbidden to play instruments, and the simchah would
take place without them (Succah 50a).
The shechitah of the korbonos of both Pesach
Rishon and Sheini were also accompanied by instrumental and
vocal music. The musical accompaniment was more than a nice
ceremonial touch. The music of the cholil was
considered one of the avodos in the Beis Hamikdosh,
and if the shechitah took place on Shabbos the
flutists also played.
Because of the change in sound that metal causes, the flutes
played in the Beis Hamikdosh were made from reeds and
not metal. The Beis Hamikdosh owned a special flute
which dated from the days of Moshe Rabbenu. A king commanded
that it should be overlaid with gold, and afterwards the
sound was less melodious than before. After the gold plate
was removed the sound returned to its original sweetness
Listening to this music was a special experience, and the
musicians did everything they could to make it even more
uplifting. When the flutists finished their piece, one would
play a little longer than the others, in order to add a
special element of distinction and style to the conclusion of
their performance (Erchin 2:3). Everything about this
music was beautiful, and even the word used to describe this
instrument, cholil, means sweet (Rashi, Erchin
Pesach Sheini Today
At the end of every tefilloh we daven that this
should be the day that the Beis Hamikdosh is rebuilt.
If our tefillos are answered between Pesach and Pesach
Sheini we will have to answer the following question: Will
the entire Jewish people be able to offer their korbonos
on the fourteenth of Iyar, or will we have to wait until
next year to bring the korbon Pesach?
The Talmud Yerushalmi discusses this issue: "If the
Jewish people are given permission to rebuild the Temple, we
will not be able to bring the korbon Pesach (Sheini).
Rebbi Yehuda said that the entire Jewish people can bring
Pesach Sheini if they missed Pesach Rishon, and that such an
incident actually took place in the days of King Chizkiyohu"
(Yerushalmi Pesochim 9:1). Should this transpire (G-d
willing) we will have to see how the Rabbonim rule on this
In the times when the Temple stood, a ger who
converted or a boy who became bar mitzvah between Pesach and
Pesach Sheini, would bring a korbon on Pesach Sheini
(Rambam, Hilchos Korbon Pesach 5:7). Their case
differs from the above one, for both the ger and the
bar mitzvah boy could have brought a korbon on Pesach
with the rest of the Jewish people, only their personal
circumstances did not allow it. When everyone does not bring
the korbon Pesach because they are tomei, the halochoh
Fasting and Eating
In the time of the Temple, miracles were commonplace among
the Jewish people. In order to etch these days on our hearts,
our Sages wrote them down in Megillas Taanis, and
forbade fasting and eulogies on these dates. One of the days
listed was Pesach Zeira, Pesach Sheini.
Our Sages set aside BaHaB (a Monday-Thursday-Monday
after the Yom Tov of Pesach and Succos) as a time for
repentance, lest one went overboard in the celebration of the
festival. Many people recite special prayers during these
days and some people fast. When Pesach falls out on a
Shabbos, Pesach Sheini falls out on a Monday, and the fast is
pushed off until the following Thursday or Monday
The prohibition against eating or owning chometz on
Pesach makes Pesach one of the most distinctive times of the
year. Pesach Sheini differs radically from Pesach, and there
is no prohibition against chometz (Pesochim 95a). Some
have the custom to eat matzoh on Pesach Sheini to
commemorate the matzoh eaten with the korbon
Matzoh and Manna
"The Torah writes that the Jewish people ate Manna for forty
years in the desert. However when we make the calculation,
there is a month missing from this amount. During that month
the matzoh that the Jewish people took out with them from
Egypt tasted like Manna" (Rashi Shemos 16:35). We can
only read these words of our Sages with wonder: what is the
deeper meaning of Manna-flavored matzoh?
A person cannot just go from his everyday routine into Yom
Tov. In order to prepare us beforehand, the halochoh suggests
that thirty days before the festival a person should already
start preparing for the chag. This way when the
holiday comes he will be ready.
Manna was different from ordinary food. It was like the Torah
in a physical form (Ramban Shemos 15:4). The Jewish
people could not go straight from their regular diet to
sustaining themselves with spiritual nutrition. Manna-
flavored matzoh provided a thirty-day transition period
between the spiritual and physical.
Rav Yaakov Emden writes that from Heaven it was revealed to
him the deeper meaning of eating matzoh on Pesach Sheini.
Every year the kedushoh of matzoh lasts for thirty
days after Pesach, just as the matzoh had special holiness
when the Jewish people left Mitzrayim. Pesach Sheini is the
last of these days, and we eat matzoh in order to latch onto
the last vestiges of holiness of this period (Siddur
The Zohar reveals another fascinating aspect of the
thirty days between Pesach and Pesach Sheini: "If the
sod of Pesach only applies during the month of Nisan,
how can we bring the korbon Pesach in Iyar? After the
Jewish people crown themselves with the Glory of the
Shechinah on Pesach, this splendor remains with them
for thirty days. On the fourteenth of Iyar, seven days before
its departure, a Heavenly voice announces that whoever was
unable to greet the Shechinah (with the korbon
Pesach) should come and do so now" (Zohar,
In the merit of keeping the halachos and customs of
Pesach Sheini, may we merit to have the Beis Hamikdosh
rebuilt, so we can offer the korbon Pesach and the
other sacrifices on the upcoming Yomim Tovim.