The Second Passover, Correct or Complete? - בהעלותך

Wednesday, 15 June, 2022 - 9:28 pm


The Second Passover, Correct or Complete? 

It was the very first anniversary of the exodus from Egypt. The people who could not offer the Passover offering, because they were ritually impure, approached Moses and protested the fact that they would miss the opportunity to offer the Pesach offering. G-d then instructed Moses that there would be a second chance to offer the Passover offering precisely one month later: 

The Lord spoke to Moses saying:

Speak to the children of Israel saying, Any person who becomes unclean from [contact with] the dead, or is on a distant journey, whether among you or in future generations, he shall make a Passover sacrifice for the Lord.

In the second month, on the fourteenth day, in the afternoon, they shall make it; they shall eat it with unleavened cakes and bitter herbs. (Numbers 9:9-11)

The message of this beautiful story is that it is never too late. In our spiritual connection to G-d, there is no such thing as a missed opportunity because one can always correct the mistake and fill in what he missed. 

Upon closer analysis, however, it seems that the definition of the second Passover is a matter of debate.

The Talmud (Pesachim 93a) presents a debate on the precise definition of the second Passover. Whereas some authorities define the holiday as either “a redress for the first {Passover}” or a “repair” for the {failure to offer the Paschal lamb on the} first {Passover}, The opinion of Rebbi is that the second Passover is “an independent festival”.  A ramification of this debate is in the case of a convert who converted to Judaism during the thirty days between the first and second Passover. According to the first two opinions, which state that the second Passover is a redress or a repair for the first one, the convert, who was not obligated to offer the first Passover since he was not yet Jewish, would not be required to offer the second Passover. However, according to the opinion that the second Passover is an independent festival (for those who, for whatever reason, did not celebrate the first Passover), the convert would be required to offer the Passover offering on the second Passover. 

Although the legal ruling follows the opinion that the second Passover is an independent festival, nevertheless, the theme of the holiday is that it is always possible to correct. That is because the Hebrew word for redress, “Tashlumin,” has two meanings: (1) to correct a deficiency. (2) To make something complete. This second definition applies even when something has no blemish or deficiency; even then, it can be improved and made more complete and more perfect. The connection between these two definitions is that, according to Judaism, one has a responsibility to reach their full potential since every person must develop their G-d given gifts to their fullest. It follows then that reaching one’s full potential, making oneself more "complete" (the second meaning of "Tashlumin"), is, in fact, “correcting a deficiency”, (the first definition of “Tashlumin”), since not developing our full potential is in itself a deficiency. 

In the final analysis, the commandment of the second Passover empowers us not only to correct the mistakes we may have made (“correcting a deficiency”), but, just as important, it inspires us and empowers us to reach our full potential (“making something more complete”).  

Adapted from the teachings of the Rebbe, Lekutei Sichos Behaaloscha 18 Sicha 4

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