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May 19, 2008

Something to think about

Today is the 14th of Iyar in the Hebrew calendar.

That translates to Pesach Sheni.

Today is the day everybody whips out the leftover matza from Pesach and insists that even if you had had enough matza on Pesach and could not bear to look at another crumb until next year, you still have to eat some today.

Pesach Sheni is the day the Torah offers for those who were not able to bring the korban Pesach on regular Pesach due to being, at the time, in a state of impurity. The Torah offers a second chance a month later.

The idea that the torah offers a second chance is unusual, and I do not have an explanation. Why for this mitzva but not for others? If you have an explanation, please leave it int he comments or email me.

Anyways, many people are careful to eat matza today. They want to make sure everybody does, even if you ate matza on the first Pesach, and offer it to you. I ate matza today because some people brought matza to work and placed it strategically in the lunchroom so everyone could take some.

Technically, Pesach Sheni is really to give us an opportunity to bring the Korban pesach - an opportunity that was missed a month ago.

Right now, the obligation to bring the korban is a very heated debate, with many Rabbis weighing in that technically we are obligated today,as korban pesach does not require the beis hamikdash or the mizbeiach, and it is one of the few korbans that can be brought in a state of impurity (when most of Israel is impure). In reality we cannot bring it because we are not allowed to by the authorities.

Some groups make a big deal and try to get permission, try to apply pressure, etc. Most of us think those guys are kooks (even though I did register with them on the off chance that permission would be granted).

I wonder though - if we got permission to bring the korban, and let's say we even got permission from the government, and let's even say that we got permission from the Waqf, would we jump at the opportunity?

Is our lack of bringing the korban really because we cannot, as we claim? What would you do, really, if you had the opportunity today?

You don't have to answer this (but feel free, if you so desire, to in the comments section).

Just something to think about.


  1. in an instant, provided I got a heteir to do so.

  2. what kind of hetter do you need? the Torah says to do it.

  3. A hetter to go onto Har Habayit. My Posek wouldn't allow it. I know others do.

  4. Halevai! But is it so clear that we would halachikally be able to bring the korban pesach?
    There are a few significant issues, eg you need a kohein who has a definite status and not just an assumed status; you need proper clothes for the kohein possibly including the correct techeles; the altar needs to be sanctified which may be impossible; and many other people may be excluded for ritual purity reasons. see http://www.ottmall.com/mj_ht_arch/v23/mj_v23i60.html
    for a discussion and references.
    In my uneducated opinion it seems that there are too many halchik issues (never mind the political ones) to make it feasible at the moment.

  5. There were several important Seforim and T'shuvot written on the subject in the 19th century. Gedolei Yisroel were found on both sides. Among the key halachic issues of contention:

    The Yichus of Cohanim; bigdei c'huna (b'zman she bigdeihem aleihem, c'hunatam aleihem).

    Whether we know the makom ha mizbeach
    -In particular, whether it requires a navi to locate makom hamizbeach

    What sort of mizbeach is required and how it is sanctified. Ditto for the clei sharet.

    The tumah that is nidchah (or hut'rah) for the korban pesach (and other korbanot with fixed times) is tumat met. What about others that require a korban to be mattir? particularly the tumot of a zav or zavah.

    And of course in addition to the halachic considerations there are the practical ones, like how we might be able to do this without igniting a world war.


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