For an explanation of the methodology of this series, see the introduction.

"Any person who becomes unclean from [contact with] the dead, or is on a distant journey, whether among you or in future generations, he shall make a Passover sacrifice for the L-rd. He shall prepare it on the 14th of the second month (i.e. Iyar) in the afternoon, and shall eat it with matzah and bitter herbs." (Num. 9:10-11)

Peshat (basic meaning):

Rashi: "On a distant journey"
There is a dot over the word "rechoka" [meaning "distant"] to teach us that he does not really have to be far away, but even if he was merely outside the threshold of the Temple courtyard throughout the time allowed for the slaughtering of the Passover sacrifice. On the second Passover, one may keep both leavened bread and unleavened food in the home, and there is no festival (i.e. all forms of work are permitted). The consumption of leaven is not forbidden except while he eats the sacrifice.

EDITOR’S NOTE: There is a Kabbalah-based custom to eat matzah on this day, Iyar 14 (2018: April 29).

Remez (hinted meaning):

Baal HaTurim: "contaminated through contact with a human corpse":
The cantellation sign "Paseik" (literally, "pause" — it looks like a straight vertical line) appears between the words "tamei" and "lanefesh" to indicate to you that there is a distinction between those who have become contaminated. The Passover offering obligation of a contaminated individual is postponed until the next month but that of a contaminated community is not postponed.

Derash (interpretive meaning):

...that he might teach the judges who were to come after Moses to be prompt in cases of money, but deliberate in those of life...

Targum Yonatan: This is one of four matters of judgment brought before Moses, in two of which Moses was prompt, and in two was he slower. Moses was prompt concerning the unclean who could not perform the Passover sacrifice in its time and concerning the daughters of Zelophehad, because the latter judgment was about money; but concerning the blasphemer who had reviled the sacred Name, and the gatherer of wood who wickedly profaned the Sabbath, Moses was deliberate, these being decisions involving life; in them he said, I have not heard; that he might teach the judges who were to come after Moses to be prompt in cases of money, but deliberate in those of life; and not to be ashamed to say, I have not heard, because Moses himself said, I have not heard. Therefore, he said: Arise, and listen to what the Word of the Lord will prescribe to you.

Ohr HaChayim: The Torah began this chapter by mentioning the year in which this command was issued, the 2nd year after their exodus from Egypt. Seeing that the whole first paragraph only intended to sanction the fact that the Israelites would [again] offer the Passover sacrifice , the Torah speaks of the 2nd year so that we would appreciate that this was after the Golden Calf.

The Talmud (Pesachim 6) said this communication happened on the 1st of Nissan of that year, so we can say it was before the Shechina descended into the Tabernacle on that day, and this introduction was G‑d's way of informing the people that they had been found worthy to offer the Passover sacrifice. Only after this, did the Shechinah descend. (Num. 9:15)

The Lubavitcher Rebbe: Pesach Sheni represents compensation or correction for a prior shortcoming, and thus represents the path of teshuvah. This is [also] seen in the difference between the first and second Passovers:
(1) Chametz is the evil and forbidden. Nevertheless, Rashi states that on Pesach Sheni one can keep both chametz and matzah in one's home, hinting that teshuvah can elevate one's past forbidden acts.
(2) The first Passover is one week long, showing a gradual spiritual ascent, while Pesach Sheni is only one day, showing the power of teshuvah to elevate and transform in a single moment.
Teshuvah has the power to wipe out a person's past deeds, and transform him into a new person. This is the inner reason that the 2nd Passover offering, representing correction and compensation for the mistakes of the past, was recorded out of chronological order, because teshuvah has the power to rearrange a person's life out of chronological order, wiping away his past mistakes. (Likutei Sichot 23, 70-17)

Sod (esoteric, mystical meaning):

Zohar III p152a:
If any man ["ish ish," lit. 'man man'] of you or your posterity shall be unclean..." (Ibid. 9:10) Why does it say "man" twice? It is a man who is a [distinguished1] man and is worthy to receive the lofty soul, yet he flawed himself so the supernal Shechinah does not reside with him. What is the reason? He brought it about by defiling himself. Therefore: 'man man', that he is [otherwise] worthy to be a [distinguished] man, but he caused himself to be defiled so the Holiness from above should not be with him.

This is one of the ten that have dots in the Torah. "Or be on a journey afar off". This is one of the ten that have dots in the Torah. All come to demonstrate something. What is "afar off"? It is because a person that defiles himself is made unclean above. As soon as they make him unclean above, he is afar off, far from the place and the road on which the children of Israel are connected. He is connected to a journey afar off; he removed himself from getting close to you, Israel, and to connect with you as you connect.

Rabbi Yitzhak said: Why is it written, "shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be on a journey afar off"? That seems to indicate that there are two things here, which is understood from the word "or." Rabbi Yosi said: Here, prior to having been made unclean. Here it is after they made him unclean. It seems that neither this one nor that one will have Holiness from above reside with them, and they will not observe the Pesach at the same time that Israel observe it.

If you wonder whether he observes on the following month, even if he does not amend himself, it is not so. It is only after he has purified and restored himself. He has another month to perform the Paschal lamb. From here, we take it that every person that purifies himself is also purified.

BeRahamim LeHayyim:
"A distant journey": Literally this means physical distance, but the Zohar looks at this spiritually, meaning that one is distant because he or she is "unclean." Perhaps we can take it even one step further: one's heart is not in the proper place when Passover time comes in — one is estranged from one's self. "Far out, man!"

G‑d desires the heart. And G‑d gives us a second chance if we are not in the right mind-space when it is time to offer the Passover sacrifice.

What an amazing idea: that when we are ready, we can rectify/heal/fix that which is needed. G‑d gives us the extra month between 14 Nissan and 14 Iyar to get ourselves together. When we see the light inside, then we are open to Passover, Peh Sach, the mouth that can speak and thus open up our inner knowledge to the secrets of our heart, the prophecies of Passover night, the splitting of the Sea of Reeds, and the Revelation at Sinai.


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