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Parsha Ponderings – behaaloscha


ויאמרו האנשים ההמה אליו אנחנו טמאים לנפש אדם

למה נגרע לבלתי הקריב את קרבן ד’ במועדו בתוך בני ישראל

And those men said to him [Moshe]: We are ritually impure by way of a human corpse; why shall we be diminished by not bringing God’s offering [i.e. the Pascal lamb] in its appointed time among the Israelites?

Pesach arrives in the Wilderness, and the entire nation joyously participates in the offering of the Pascal lamb. A small group, however, can do nothing but look longingly on, prevented from joining in by a ritual impurity they have contracted through no fault of their own.

“Why can’t we also somehow partake?”, they complain to Moshe.

“Is it fair that we be deprived simply because we have become impure?”

The answer was not long in coming. And it wasn’t simply a targeted response to that given group of people; it took the form of an entirely new commandment to the Israelites for all of time.

God spoke to Moshe, saying: “Speak to the Israelites, saying: If any man shall become impure… whether you or your generations, he shall bring the Pesach-offering in the second month, on the fourteenth day, etc.” (Bamidbar 9:9-10)

Pretty fascinating, don’t you think? Complain, and pronto… a new Mitzvah appears: You can bring the Pascal lamb in the second month, if you missed the first due to impurity.

Fascinating, indeed, and yet terribly puzzling at the same time.

Is that how the Torah works? Doesn’t God usually issue commandments ahead of time? Doesn’t the Torah address all the possible scenarios from the start? Why does God seem to be playing catch-up here, so to speak?

It is patently obvious that the concept of the Pesach make-up date, commonly referred to as Pesach Sheni (lit. Second Pesach), was not formulated post-haste in response to these individuals’ situation. And yet, God held off on revealing it until these people expressed their desire to somehow compensate for their missed Pesach; a desire which seemed demonstrably impossible to carry out, given that God does not issue new Mitzvos on demand.

Clearly, there was a message here that God sought to convey: The sincere desire to do something positive, will reveal new and never-before-imagined ways of doing it. Indeed, the very harboring of that burning desire to do something after it becomes clear that it cannot possibly be done, can pry open the gates of impossibility and allows one through.

And thus we learn, that while we are not expected to do the impossible, we certainly are expected to want to do the impossible, for that itself can render the impossible possible.

So next time you hit the wall, don’t just stall. Look up at the heavens and call. Or maybe even bawl. Because that’s what makes, that tall wall fall.

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