April 24, 2024
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April 24, 2024
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It’s Never Too Late to Make a Comeback

This week we read of “the Pesach Sheini people” who missed out on bringing the korban pesach at its due time since they were impure from contact with the dead. They earnestly appealed to Moshe, “Why should we lose out?” Moshe conferred with Hashem and Hashem’s response was that anyone who becomes impure from the dead or is on a distant journey can bring the korban pesach at a later date. Because of their eagerness and unwillingness to let this mitzvah slide, Pesach Sheini was established, and ultimately they made up for what they missed out on.

Rav Shimshon Pinkus (“Tiferes Shimshon”) says we learn a great fundamental idea from this. Many times it happens that one wasn’t brought up in an atmosphere of Torah and mitzvot and serving Hashem, etc., and is therefore behind in these matters, as he may have missed out on much. However, if he comes with the similar drive that the Pesach Sheini people had of “why should I lose out?” and he tries and toils and works to come back to Hashem and Torah, then he, too, can merit the “Pesach Sheini”—meaning, he, too, can make up what he lost out on.

One can wonder, however, how do we see this from the concept of korban pesach sheini? Maybe just by Pesach Sheini we see the idea of making up something [i.e. the korban] that he missed out on, but maybe it’s not so compelling to say that we learn from there that by avodat Hashem and Torah in general that the same idea applies!

Yet, perhaps we can suggest the following to explain. What was the idea of korban pesach about and what were the circumstances during that time? Bnei Yisrael were on the verge of leaving Egypt, on the way to becoming Hashem’s official people. R’ Naftali Tzvi Berlin (Haamek Davar, Va’eira, 6:6) points out that the last plague—makat bechorot—marked our official freedom from servitude. Immediately prior to this makka, we brought the korban pesach. Hence, the korban pesach can signify a transformative moment where we are leaving the shackles of Egypt and its influence, and instead entering into a relationship with Hashem. But bringing this korban was not necessarily an easy feat. In fact, it might have posed a huge risk. For since the Egyptians considered this animal as their “god,” from their viewpoint we were bringing their “god” to be sacrificed. Their potential fury could’ve brought disaster. Additionally, Bnei Yisrael were also involved in avoda zara in Egypt (and therefore maybe it’s even possible that they considered the lamb to be their “god” as well). Hence, Bnei Yisrael bringing the korban pesach served up a double whammy. Not only did it possibly endanger their personal lives, but it possibly also posed a dramatic shift in their beliefs.

That being said, in essence, by bringing this korban to Hashem, Bnei Yisrael demonstrated their own self-sacrifice to enter into a newfound relationship with Hashem in the fullest way—both in a physical sense and in their prior beliefs. And they did that despite having been entrenched in a state of impurity (one level more of impurity and they would have reached the point of no return), and being quite distant from Hashem.

Thus, the korban pesach can perhaps represent a new beginning in a relationship with Hashem, where they demonstrated self sacrifice and fully gave themselves over to Hashem, despite the fact that they were coming from the 49th level of impurity.

Therefore, the fact that Hashem gave a dispensation that specifically for this korban one who is “impure” from the dead, or on a “distant” journey, can make up for it even after the due date has passed can perhaps show that indeed, although one may feel “sullied with sin” and “impure,” or may feel “distant” from Hashem in any way, nevertheless, by fully giving oneself over to Hashem and Torah, i.e. through sincerity and putting in the effort, one can come back once again and start anew, and make up for those lost moments of spiritual growth.

Even when one seems to be behind or at a great disadvantage in his level of avodat Hashem and Torah, not only is it never too late in the game to come back to Hashem, but through one’s devotion and efforts it is also possible to make a comeback and make up for that lost time, and ultimately reach one’s destined level of greatness.


Binyamin can be reached at [email protected]

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