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Social Distancing from G-d

Friday, 8 May, 2020 - 10:54 am

Today is Pesach Sheini – the second Passover, one of the more obscure holidays on the Jewish calendar. Pesach Sheini originated with a small group of people who were ritually impure at the first anniversary of the Exodus. Hashem responded to their plea for inclusion, by giving them a “make-up date” one month later. From the language that the Torah uses, there is an inspiring insight derived in Chassidus.

The quote from the book of Numbers (8:10) is, “any person who becomes impure (by contact with the) dead, or was on a distant journey, for you or for future generations, shall offer a Pesach offering in the second month…”

The key phrase is “for you.” The simple application is, that Hashem is speaking to those present, and then also to future generations. Chassidus interprets the phrase “for you” as relating to the reason for your impurity or distance. In other words, even if a person is deliberately impure, which conceptually means that they are apathetic to G-dliness and spirituality (symbolized by death), they are still welcome to a second chance. Similarly, even if a person is deliberately practicing “social distancing” with Hashem, Hashem wants them to know that they have an opportunity to get close.

The second chance that Pesach Sheini offers in an expression of Hashem’s boundless love for each and every one of us. Even if in our own minds we are unworthy, and therefore we distanced ourselves, Hashem desires our closeness. Indeed, in response to the cry of a small group of Jews, who were experiencing spiritual FOMO (fear of missing out) that Pesach, Hashem gave us a whole new Mitzvah and a new holiday.

So feel the love wash over you. It is a cleansing love. It is a liberating love. It is an empowering love. But don’t miss the opportunity – seize the moment and the second chance to shake off your own sense of inadequacy, and allow yourself to experience the welcome home embrace of our loving Father.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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