It is more than a cliche.

We turn to the Torah as a source of our values, as our north star for guidance of the tone we want to set for life. Which brings us to a phenomenon we have just lived through on the calendar.

Not lived through very loudly. It’s not at all well known. But it’s on the calendar nevertheless, and it is sourced directly from the Torah, the Five Books of Moses.

Pesach Sheni.

The word ‘Pesach’ (Passover), we all know. That second word, ‘Sheni’, means, well, second – a second Passover (!).

In a Jewish world in which our Passover shopping starts weeks ahead, in which plans to bring children home for the event get set in motion, and where tables are piled high with centuries-old symbolic foods, and around which grown adults stumble, year after year, over words they learned as children .… we know about Pesach!

But a second Passover?! A Passover after the Passover during which we eat, gather and remember? And it’s from the Torah?

Yes, exactly.

For those who were not in a state of ritual purity at the right time, or could not get to the Temple in time for Passover, a follow up date, one month later, is prescribed – by G-d and Moses (Numbers 9:10-12) – as a second chance for those who couldn’t make it.

“A second chance for those who couldn’t make it”

The phrase is a challenge to every perfectionist in the crowd, to anyone who’s ever judged anybody for being late or missing a deadline. It’s a challenge to the premise that life is in our control at all times and that we must measure up continually because we believe it is all in our control.

Life. Is. Not.

G-d and Moses spread the word. There’s a second chance in case you couldn’t make it. Exactly a month after the first Pesach we all know and love. For those who couldn’t make it in time for the First Passover, G-d offers a second chance.

It’s a message writ clear. Our Torah is aspirational and its high goals are a good thing. Our Torah, G-d and our Jewish culture then understand human life and allow for the second attempt at reaching those great, high goals.

Shabbat Shalom and blessings,

Rabbi Mark Biller