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The thirtieth day of the Omer

For Friday, May 5, 2023 / Iyar 14 / Pesach Sheni

Today is Iyar 14th which is also called “Pesach Sheni”. It’s now a month ago that we gathered for Seder eve to celebrate our exodus into freedom. Hopefully everyone who wanted had a seat at the Seder table. Already the Torah (Bemidbar 9) has advise if someone was involuntarily not able to take part in the main Pesach ritual: Just do it a month later! On the evening of Iyar people came together, sacrificed a Pesach lamb, ate it with Matzot and with bitter herbs, and sang Hallel. One didn’t have to turn the household upside down to remove the Chametz, and one didn’t have to eat Matzah for seven days. Since the destruction of the Temple Pesach Sheni had become rather a theoretical possibility: It was a custom in some congregations to eat a piece of Matzah in the evening, some Chasidim held a Tish with their rebbe. And one didn’t say Tahanun, a liturgical expression of joy. Why was Iyar 14 treated as a joyful day? Because it was a “Feast of a second chance”. It reminds us that there are people who are sometimes prevented to follow the “norm”, Pesach Sheni invites us to create “second chances” to be part of the community.

Rabbi Dr Ulrike Offenberg, Hameln, Germany


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