3

In Parashat Behaalotcha we read of a group of individuals who were unable for Halachic reasons to celebrate Pesach. On the fourteenth day of Nisan, when they had been mandated to bring the Pesach offering, they had been tamei. That is, “they were unclean, having come into contact with a dead body so that they could not keep Pesach on that day”. (Bemidbar 9:6).

These individuals had wanted, apparently quite passionately, to bring the offering on the appointed day. They thus went to Moshe and Aharon and pleaded their case. Their “petition” was, basically, “Because we were tamei because of a corpse, why must we lose out on bringing the Pesach offering to Hashem?” They asked for a second chance.

Moshe took their case to Hashem. And Hashem did indeed give them a second opportunity. We thus have Pesach Sheni, celebrated a month after Pesach.

My question is the following: Why is it only Pesach that is given a “do-over holiday”? For example, surely there were individuals who were tamei at the time of Sukkot. They would thus have been forbidden from bringing a fire offering to Hashem. Why did these persons not ask Moshe for a “second chance”? (We are not told of their having done so, if in fact they did.)

Why did individuals who were tamei at other appointed times for bringing an offering not ask Moshe and Aharon for the opportunity to do so after they had become tahor? Why is there not a “blanket second chance” a month later for persons who are tamei at the mandated time for an offering?

I did check the StackExchange archives to see if this question had been asked previously. I did not find such a question. If I missed it, I apologize. I would be very grateful for the link or reference to that previous inquiry. Many thanks!

1
  • 3
    Is there the same penalty for not bringing an offering on Sukkot as there is for not bringing a Korban Pesach?
    – rosends
    Jun 14 at 15:18

1 Answer 1

1

On pessach the obligations (מצווה חיובית) of every Jewish person is to eat at least a kesayis of a korban pessach. If the individual is Tamei, he/she cannot be מקים that obligation, and thus cannot fully observe all the pessach obligation

In contrast,. For all other Yamin tovim there is no specific chiyuv to bring and eat a certain korban. On succos, for example, everyone must shake the lulav, which even a tamei person can do. The korban that one would have to bring is an Olas Reiyah (if you were oleh regel to Jerusalem) , which even a tamei person can do by sending it to the bais hamikdash with a shaliach and not entering themselves. Meaning, that being tamei doesn't stand in the way of being מרים all mitzvos that are created by the Yom tov. This is why no second chance is necesssary

3
  • Yoreinu, thank you very much. What an interesting and enlightening answer/vort! Setting aside the chiyuv to bring and eat a certain korban, is it ONLY for Pesach that a tamei person cannot perform all Halachic requirements? Thank you again for your insight and for sharing your knowledge.
    – Sidney76
    Jun 14 at 17:27
  • @Sidney76, yes , unless I am missing something. You would have to find a Mitzvah חיובית (a Mitzvah that has to be actively pursued, i.e. tizitis is not such a type because it only applies when you have a 4 cornered garment vs. Matzah eating the first night of pessach which you have to actively pursue) that cannot be performed because of the tuma status. Interestingly, a metzorah who is only missing the korban and npblood on his thumbs is a מחוסר כיפורים and as such wouldn't be allowed to stretch his hands into the asara .Nevertheless the Torah makes an explicit exception to allow it
    – Yoreinu
    Jun 14 at 17:32
  • ..."ONLY for Pesach that a tamei person cannot perform all Halachic requirements"...that certainly explains why it is only for Pesach that there was a "second chance" given. So interesting! Thanks again, Yoreinu.
    – Sidney76
    Jun 14 at 17:36

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .