One of the leaders of an academy for men who turned to Jewish study after being brought up in a secular environment was describing his program to the previous Gerer Rebbe, Reb Simchah Bunim. He explained how the studies were tailor-made to enable a person coming from such a background to grow in Jewish knowledge and practice. “We understand the mentality of our students and appreciate what they have gone through,” he stated. To prevent his intent from being misunderstood, he continued: “This comes from years of work. It’s not that we come from such an environment. I have been studying Torah all my life. I am not one who had to turn to G‑d in teshuvah, repentance.”

Upon hearing these words, the Gerer Rebbe answered: “Maybe it’s about time that you did.”

Pesach Sheni: The Second Passover

Every Jew was commanded to commemorate the exodus from Egypt by bringing a paschal sacrifice on Passover. But what if a person did not bring a paschal sacrifice? To bring such a sacrifice a person had to be ritually pure and in Jerusalem. That was not always possible.

If a person was impure, far away from the Temple in Jerusalem or even if he just did not want to bring the required sacrifice on Passover, the Torah does not give up on him. Instead, he is given another chance. A month later on the Second Passover, he could bring the prescribed sacrifice.

The lesson is apparent: There is no room for despair. No one is ever lost. A person can always correct himself.

In commemoration of the opportunity to offer this sacrifice, it is customary to eat matzah on the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Iyar, the day the second paschal sacrifice was brought.

A question, however, arises: Most of the people commemorating the Second Passover today are the same ones who celebrated the first. If they celebrated Passover to the fullest the first time, why must they be concerned with the Second Passover?

The resolution to this question is dependent on the concept that our spiritual service must be a continuous upward progression. Today cannot be like yesterday. It must represent an improvement; indeed, so great an improvement that when looking back at yesterday, a person should feel that he was impure and far away, that the Passover service he rendered was not sufficient.

So he is given a Second Passover, a chance to make another advance on his new level of consciousness.

Looking to the Horizon

The manner in which the possibility was granted to bring the second paschal sacrifice is also significant. The Torah relates that in the first year after the Exodus, when the Jewish people were preparing to bring the Paschal sacrifice, “There were [certain] men who were impure.... They came before Moses... and said, ‘Why should we be held back from bringing the offering of G‑d in its time?...’

Moses brought their complaint before G‑d and He granted them — and likewise any Jew in a similar situation in subsequent times — a second opportunity to offer the Paschal sacrifice.

This shows us the importance of making demands of G‑d. When a Jew feels a sincere spiritual desire, he should insist to be given an opportunity for this desire to be expressed.

This concept applies today for every one of us. We all lack Mashiach. This is not just a small matter, but something that affects every element of our lives. With a sincere and positive stubbornness, we should persist in our calls for the Redemption, asking and demanding of G‑d to end our exile.