The Tora- or the bible as you call it- doesn’t have a lot of do-overs. OK. Life doesn’t have a lot of do-overs, either.
But, tonight, there is a fully-sanctioned do-over. It’s called Pesach Sheni- the 2nd Passover.
Y’all know that it’s the rule to clean your house from top to bottom for Pesach (Passover). It’s where the concept of Spring cleaning is derived. If one is Jewish, the law stipulates that NO unleavened bread, no “chametz” (vernacular food, plates, pots) can be in our possession and can’t even be seen.
So, for Pesach, I spend a few days (close to a week, but you get the idea) stripping down everything, packing things up, giving things away. And, once the house is spotless, then I drag up my Passover dishes, pots, pans, and food.
(It was so much easier when I had my six-story, six-bedroom house. The kitchen had been redone to hold [in locked-down cabinets] all my dishes, and most of my pots for Pesach. So, I just had to clean everything, lock down a few other cabinets and I was ready for Pesach.)
But, if someone were in need of an operation, feeling ill, (back in the day- if one were ritually impure), etc., they missed the big deal- the Seder. The telling of our adventure about the release from Mitzrayim (our narrow straits), the granting of our freedom, and the festive meal.
And, when Moshe and Aharon were leading us, certain folks approached them to ask what happens to them? How do they celebrate Pesach? Because on the 14th of Nissan, Pesach, they were unable to participate. They had been in contact with a dead body and were, therefore, tamei- ritually impure.
The response? After Moshe consulted with Hashem, the 14th of Iyar was established as Pesach Sheni. A chance for them to retell the story, to share the even with their family and friends. They were granted a second chance, a month later.
Now, there are no other holidays for which this second chance exists. And, to be totally honest, it’s not clear they there shouldn’t be. It may just be that no one ever asked Moshe what would happen if they were ritually impure when those holidays rolled around. Only for Pesach did someone inquire- and was, therefore, granted the reprieve.
In honor of those who may be participating in Pesach Sheni, we all partake of a piece of matza on this day.
I’ve got mine ready – and still have Temp Tee (the world’s greatest cream cheese) to shmear all over the matza- to render it edible. Delectable even!