Jewish vocabulary

Pesach Sheni

Posted on April 28, 2010. Filed under: 5769, Jewish History, Jewish Miracles, Jewish traditions, Jewish vocabulary, Pesach, Pesach 2009, Pesach 5769, Pesach 5770, Pesach Insights, Shavous 5769, Shavuos, Shavuot, Shavuot 5769, True, Truth, Uncategorized, What? | Tags: , , , , |

BS”D

We got the following 2 articles from Chabad.org

Another Opportunity Granted

Pesach Sheni (“the Second Pesach”) is celebrated on the 14th of Iyar, a month after the eve of Pesach. The Torah1 re lates that in the first year after the Exodus, when the Jewish people were preparing to bring the Pesach sacrifice:

There were [certain] men who were impure because [they had come in contact with a] human corpse and they could not bring the Pesach offering on that day. They came before Moshe… and said, “We are un clean… [but] why should we be held back from bringing the offering of G‑d in its time?…”

And Moshe said to them, “Stand and hear what G‑d will command concerning you.”

G‑d said…, “If any man be impure… or on a distant way [on the day of the Pesach offering]…, he shall sacrifice the Pesach offering to G‑d, in the second month, on the fourteenth day at dusk….”

Anyone who did not bring a Pesach offering, whether be cause of impurity or even because he had willfully trans gressed G‑d’s will, was thus given the opportunity to com pensate for his shortcoming by bringing an offering on Pesach Sheni. 2

“It’s Never Too Late!”

The Previous Rebbe explained3 that, “Pesach Sheni teaches us that ‘Nothing is ever lost: it’s never too late!’ Our conduct can always be rectified. Even someone who is impure, who was far away and even desired to be so, can still correct him self.” There is no justification for despair. Every individual, no matter what his situation, always has the potential to make a leap forward (the literal translation of the Hebrew word Pesach) in his service of G‑d.

Given the significance of Pesach Sheni, one might ask: Why was it instituted a full month after Pesach, in the month of Iyar? Wouldn’t it have been better to atone for our defi ciencies at the earliest opportunity, in Nissan?

We can answer this question by comparing the spiritual characteristics of Nissan and Iyar. Nissan is the month of revelation, the month during which G‑d revealed His great ness and redeemed the Jewish people despite their inadequa cies. Iyar, by contrast, is the month of individual endeavor, a quality that is exemplified by the mitzvah of Sefiras HaOmer. 4 The theme of Iyar, self-refinement initiated by the individual himself, is in keeping with the nature of Pesach Sheni, the festival in which an individual who was not motivated by Pesach is given an additional opportunity to elevate himself.

Pesach and Chametz Together

The different stages of divine service represented by Pesach Rishon (the first Pesach) and Pesach Sheni are reflected in one of the halachic differences between them. On Pesach Rishon, all traces of chametz must be obliterated; on Pesach Sheni, although we eat matzah, one may have chametz in one’s possession.5

On Pesach Rishon, hoisted aloft by the Divinely-initiated revelations of the month of Nissan, we strive to reach new heights of spiritual freedom by stepping beyond the limits of our own personalities. This necessitates leaving behind our chametz, i.e., our egotism. Then comes the month of Iyar, with its demand for individual spiritual homework. On Pesach Sheni, accordingly, we concentrate on rectifying and up grading our current levels of conduct.6 And since in this kind of avodah we have to deal with all the current components of our natures, the possession of chametz on Pesach Sheni is permitted.

The Desire Within Our Hearts

In light of this, we can explain why the mitzvah of Pesach Sheni came about in response to the sincere request of indi viduals who were impure. One of the goals of Judaism is to draw holiness — downward, so to speak — into the world. A more important goal, however, is to elevate the world and the worldly aspects of man, to transform all aspects of our being, and bring to the surface the essential G‑dliness within us.

The institution of Pesach Sheni was prompted by the heartfelt desires of those who, despite their impurity, pro tested, “Why should we be prevented from bringing the offer ing of G‑d?”7 The mitzvah was given, not as a commandment from above, but as an expression of man’s inner need to establish a bond with G‑d.

This need exists in potential in every Jewish heart. Man’s plea for “one more chance” reflects the mode of divine serv ice called teshuvah (repentance; lit., “return”). For everyone, even a person who is “on a distant path” possesses a Divine potential which always seeks to realize itself.

Stepping Above Time

The concept of teshuvah helps us understand another difference between Pesach Sheni and Pesach Rishon. Pesach Rishon lasts seven days (and eight in the Diaspora), while Pe sach Sheni is celebrated for only one day.8 A week repre sents the cycle of change that governs our material world. The spiritual experience of Pesach Rishon requires a full week be cause it encompasses the entire cycle of growth and change which must take place within the framework of our worldly existence.

The service of teshuvah, however, requires us to reach be yond our limited, worldly frame of reference and express the unbounded potential of the G‑dly spark within us. This po tential, which transcends the restrictions of the natural world, cannot be confined within the limitations of time. The celebration of Pesach Sheni for one day symbolizes transcen dence. Here, the number one is not the smallest number; in stead, it represents a unity which transcends all numerical values.

The time-transcending quality of teshuvah is exemplified by the Talmudic account9 of R. Eliezer ben Durdaya. Although he had led a wanton life, when he felt compelled to do teshuvah he experienced an internal transformation so in tense that his soul departed from his body as he wept in re morse. When R. Yehudah HaNasi heard this story, he too wept, exclaiming, “There are those who attain [their share in] the World [to Come] after many years [of divine service], and there are others who attain [their share in] the World [to Come] in one moment.”

Chassidic thought explains that R. Yehudah HaNasi was reacting with a positive form of envy, for he realized that R. Eliezer ben Durdaya’s teshuvah surpassed his own spiritual heights.

Continuous Growth

Although Pesach Sheni was initially instituted for those who had not offered the Pesach sacrifice in its proper time, its spiritual expression in our divine service is relevant to all Jews, even those who have celebrated Pesach as completely as possible.10

The Pesach sacrifice was intended to motivate every in dividual to leave his personal Egypt, to make a radical depar ture from his previous spiritual state and approach a new, higher, level of divine service. The departure from Egypt is a continuous process;11 we must constantly proceed forward. No matter what heights a person has reached, he should not remain content with the level he has attained and must always seek to advance further. For the G‑dly potential within us is infinite.

In the month of Iyar, therefore, the offering brought on Pesach Rishon becomes insufficient. Since the passage of time has afforded us the opportunity of reaching greater heights in our divine service, it is necessary for us to bring another offering on Pesach Sheni.

The necessity for constant spiritual striving is illustrated by reference to the laws regulating ritual purity.12 There are several successive states of purity and impurity. For example, and in ascending order, someone who is considered pure with regard to Chullin (non-sacramental food) may be deemed impure with regard to the more stringent demands of Maaser Sheni (the Second Tithe, which must be eaten in Jeru salem only while in state of purity). By the same token, someone who is considered pure with regard to Maaser Sheni may still be impure with regard to Terumah (the portion of grain given to the Kohanim). Similarly, one who is pure in re gard to Terumah might still be impure for the purpose of partaking of the sacrifices offered in the Beis HaMikdash.

These categories are paralleled in our divine service. Though an individual may have been “pure” at his level of divine service on the 14th of Nissan, his progress since then renders his previous status unsatisfactory. Relative to his pre sent level of attainment, his previous state is “impure”, and he is therefore obligated to bring a second Pesach offering.

We find that a pattern of continuous growth — “They shall proceed from strength to strength” — is associated with “appear[ing] before G‑d in Zion.”13 May the personal growth motivated by Pesach Sheni prepare us for the time when the Beis HaMikdash will be rebuilt and we will partake of the Pesach offerings and the other festive offerings.14 And may this take place in the immediate future.

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XVIII, Parshas Behaalos’cha; the Sichos of Motzaei Shabbos Parshas Emor, 5738

“It’s never too late. There’s always a second chance.” This, according to Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn (the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, 1880-1950), is the message of Pesach Sheini, the biblically ordained “second Passover” for those who fail to bring the Passover offering on its designated time.

We all relate to a statement like, “There’s always a second chance.” It soothes our harried souls, and fits nicely on the December 31 page of an Inspirational Sayings Desk Calendar. But how does it mesh with real day-to-day life? I took a small neighborhood survey.

“Well,” said Sarah L., a neighbor, “I missed the 6:22 coming home yesterday evening and spent 35 minutes in the station reading a two-day-old newspaper — time I would have used to tell my daughter a bedtime story, if I’d gotten home in time. I’ll make that train today (I hope) but yesterday’s 6:22 ain’t ever coming ever again…”

“Well,” said Jeffery H., a successful divorce lawyer, “twenty years ago I knew a wonderful girl that I wanted to marry. At one point, the words were at the tip of my tongue, and I just knew that she’d say ‘Yes’. But the moment passed and I never did pop the question. I have no regrets — I’m happily married today — but that moment will never come back… Not in this lifetime, anyway.”

“Well,” said Forrest G., a business tycoon I know, “back in high school I had a friend who asked me if I thought he ought to go into politics. Now, this is the last guy in the world you’d want as head of state and commander-in-chief of a superpower. But I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, so I said, ‘Sure, go for it.’ I don’t have to tell you what a mess this guy made of our world during the eight years he was in office. That’s one decision that’s too late to change…”

What do we mean when we talk about a “second chance?” Is it the ability to step into a capsule, be transported to a previous point in time, jostle aside our previous, misguided self, and do it the right way this time? But if that’s all there’s to it, what has been gained? We could just as well have done it right the first time!

The Torah’s idea of teshuvah (“return”) is not just the undoing or correcting of a past error. Rather, teshuvah is about transforming the past. It means reaching back to change the significance and the consequences of what happened, so that the end-result is better than what would have been had it not occurred.

Sarah L.: “You know, if I’m honest about it, the truth is that even if I would have made that train, I would have sat and read through that bedtime story as quickly as I could, just because I’d promised my daughter that I would. My mind was on other things that day. But the fact that I missed the train and broke my promise made me realize how much my daughter needs me — and not just my physical presence, but also my attention and mindfulness. Tonight, I’m going to sit with her on her bed and really talk — something that we haven’t done for longer than I care to remember…”

Jeffery H.: “You know, there is nothing that I value more than my marriage. I believe that the woman I married is my destined soulmate, the one who is truly the only person in the world for me. The more I think about it, the more I see that ‘missed opportunity’ in my past as a perpetual challenge to experience — and surpass — that degree of yearning and hope in our own relationship. I say to myself: If I was able to see such promise and depth of feeling in that false lead, how much more so in the real thing! It makes me fall in love with my wife all over again every day of my life.”

As for my business tycoon friend, instead of retiring (as he planned to do at 65), he’s been working day and night to fix the mess that guy made. Let’s see what he comes up with.

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Meaning & Reasoning behind Yarmulka (AKA: Kipah)

Posted on October 16, 2009. Filed under: Jewish traditions, Jewish vocabulary, Kipa, Kipah, Kippa, Kippah, Uncategorized, Yamulka, Yamulke, Yare Malka, Yarmalka, Yurmalka, Yurmalkah | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

BS”D

We found the following fascinating article from our friends at AskMoses.com:

Do you know the origin of the Kipah or Yarmulkah?

by Mrs. Yehudis Cohen

A “Yarmulka” (Also Known As: “Kippa”) refers to a Head-covering worn by Jewish Males. It serves as a constant reminder of existence of a Higher Being (meaning: G-d).

The word “Yarmulka” comes from the Aramaic “Yarei Malka” which means: “Fear (or Awe) of the King (meaning: G-d)”. It is a symbol of humility and submission to the Divine.

It is a very ancient custom which has become accepted practice among Jews. The Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law) rules that a male may not even sit without a head-covering.

Another article which answers a fascinating and everlasting question:

“Can I take off my kipah under certain circumstances?”

which was found at: http://www.askmoses.com/en/article/536,1672264/Can-I-take-off-my-kipah-under-certain-circumstances.html

[The parts in brackets were added to help us better understand the meaning of some of the vocabulary]

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: Welcome. I’ll be with you in a moment…What’s on your mind?

not sure: why do men have to wear a Yarmulka [A “Yarmulka” (Also Known As: “Kippa”) refers to a Head-covering worn by Jewish Males. It serves as a constant reminder of existence of a Higher Being (meaning: G-d). The word “Yarmulka” comes from the Aramaic “Yarei Malka,” which means: “Fear of the King (meaning: G-d)”. It is a symbol of humility and submission to the Divine (G-d)] at all times? if one wants to be religious does it have to be worn?

not sure: if its to remind us that G-d [It’s forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It’s therefore, Customary to insert a dash in the middle of G-d’s name, allowing us to erase or to discard the paper which it’s written-on, IF necessary] is above, is it still needed if one is aware of that even when not wearing one?

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: when we wear a reminder on our head that is not because we don’t believe so inside. It is to reinforce what we believe, and turn it into an action.

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: in other words, the question would be similar: should someone wear a wedding ring even if they know they love their husband inside?

not sure: can a man be religious if he doesn’t wear one?

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: what is religious? it is a made up term 🙂

not sure: to be religious is to keep the laws of the Torah, [Torah is G-d teaching to man. In general terms, we refer the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah”. But, in truth, ALL Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah] most importantly Shabbos [Also known as Shabbat” with its plural: “Shabbatot”. It’s the Hebrew word meaning of “Rest”. It’s a biblical commandment to sanctify & Saturday which is the Final & seventh day of the week as describe in the Torah. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in 6 Days, G-d rested on the Seventh] and Kosher [Literally means: “Fit”. It’s commonly used to describe foods which are permitted for consumption in-accordance with Jewish dietary laws, BUT, it’s also used to describe religious articles (such as Torah Scroll or a Sukkah) which meet the requirements of the Jewish laws as described in the Torah.]

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: ok — that is one definition of religious. A more common definition of religious is someone who follows ALL the laws of Judaism which includes wearing a Kipah [Also known as a Yarmulka. It’s also sometimes, spelled as any of the following variations: “Kippah” or “Kipa”, “Kippa”. Its plural is: “Kippot”. It refers to a Head-covering worn by Jewish Males. It serves as a constant reminder of existence of a Higher Being (meaning: G-d). It is a symbol of humility and submission to the Divine (G-d).] But hey, if you are not ready to wear a kipah, don’t let that stop you from eating kosher or keeping Shabbat

not sure: what i want to know is if its as important as the other laws?

not sure: when it comes to laws instituted by the rabbis, are they as important as laws from torah?

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: For most practical purposes a law from the Rabbis needs to be adhered to like a law from the Torah. After all it is the Torah that says follow the laws of the Rabbis. In certain cases a rabbinic law can be more lenient.

not sure: in the case of a Yarmulka?

not sure: i wear a Yarmulka, but at work and if I’m in a club, i would take it off

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: the question is, if you really love G-d, why would take off the Yarmulka in certain places

not sure: so as not to have people look at Jews in a bad way

not sure: for example, if I’m at a club its not appropriate

not sure: and at work i don’t want to stand out, i don’t want to be judged just from wearing a Yarmulka

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: if you are in a club its not appropriate?

not sure: not really, so thats why i would take off my kipah

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: are you saying that it is not appropriate for you to be there

not sure: it is not, however i enjoy it and would like to go, so I take of my kipah so pl don’t know I’m Jewish

not sure: therefore its no longer not appropriate to be there

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: aha — so in G-d’s eyes it is not appropriate. So you will put G-d (the kipah which reminds you and others that G-d does not want you there) in your pocket, and at the same time you will tell me you don’t need the kipah because you love him without it?

not sure: wow, i never thought of it like that

not sure: its needed so as not to be in that situation where u would take it off

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: bingo!

not sure: 🙂

not sure: thank you

not sure: you really brought some clarity to me

not sure: thank you for your time

not sure: have a wonderful day!

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: my pleasure – and keep doing the right think, you bring clarity to the world

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*** We WANT Moshiach, Now!!! ***

By the way, You, too, can help hasten the coming of Moshiach, by doing ONE more Mitzvah. ***

*** We WANT Moshiach, Now!!! ***

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