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Pesach Sheni: A Second Chance    

Pesach Sheni: A Second Chance

Hashem is more forgiving than anyone can fathom. No matter what we did wrong, there’s always a second chance. Pesach Sheni is proof…


Teshuva is an amazing mitzvah. Many people find difficulty in believing that it’s for real. Many an email asks me, “Does Hashem really forgive me for what I did?” The simple, categorical and indisputable answer is a resounding and emphatic yes! It doesn’t matter what you did or how serious the Torah regards the transgression. Not only does Hashem forgive, but he loves us and trusts us enough to give us a second chance.
Teshuva is simple. Sincerity is teshuva’s soul prerequisite. Teshuva is spiritual plastic surgery. How? Transgressions scar a person’s soul and inhibit the soul’s ability to absorb Divine illumination. Teshuva removes the scars of transgression and consequently facilitate the soul’s ability to absorb Divine illumination and consequently get closer to Hashem. In fact, the word “scar” helps us remember in an easy and practical way how to do teshuva, as follows:
S: Stop – this moment, stop whatever you’re doing that’s wrong and desire to make a change for the better;
C: Confess to Hashem what you did wrong; when a person confesses to Hashem, then the Heavenly Court can’t judge him. Hashem is merciful and forgiving, and especially compassionate to those who admit that they erred.
A: Apologize to Hashem for what you did; show Him that you realize your mistake. If you committed a transgression against your fellow man, you must apologize to him as well.
R: Resolve to do better in the future, and ask Hashem to help you.
Bingo! The above four steps of S-C-A-R are all a person must do to completely fulfill the lofty mitzvah of teshuva. It’s really that easy! The Yetzer Hara, the arch liar who we know as the evil inclination, will do everything in his power to deter you from the path of teshuva. He’ll attack you with all kinds of lies; he’ll tell you that if you don’t grow a beard or change your appearance, you can’t do teshuva. Nothing could be further from the truth.
With the four steps of S-C-A-R, you’re home free.
Imagine that you failed to pay income tax for the last twenty years, and you owe the IRS back taxes that total a half-million dollars! You go before the head of IRS who is fully capable of throwing the book at you if he so desires. Yet, he’s kind, attentive, and understanding about everything you have to say in defense of yourself. Yet, despite your excuses for not having paid income tax for the last two decades, you still owe the money and are legally liable to pay it in full, or else…
Got the picture? Now imagine that the head of IRS offers you a proposal” “OK,” he says, “I’m willing to wipe your slate clean of the $500,000 dollars in back debts. All you have to do is to begin paying your income tax on a monthly basis from this moment on. Do you agree?”
Your head is spinning. What?! Such compassion!? Of course you agree! You take out your pen and you sign the commitment right away. You’ve just saved a half million dollars and time behind bars…
A fantasy? No way – that’s just how teshuva works. In fact, that’s low-level teshuva, the teshuva out of fear. The Gemara says that if a person makes teshuva out of love, his transgression becomes a merit. That means that instead of paying a half-million dollar fine, you get a check for a half million dollars.
The Evil Inclination and the heresy of modern society have been giving Hashem, Torah and mitzvas terrible publicity. Teshuva really is umpteen times better than winning the Irish Lottery.
There’s even more proof to what we’re saying right in the Torah. The Torah has a mitzvah called “Pesach Sheni,” or “Second Pesach”. During the time of the Holy Temple, anyone who fails to participate in the Pascal sacrifice is punished by karett, a terrible punishment that amounts in the severance of a person’s soul from the Jewish people. Yet, a person who was far away from the Holy Temple or ritually impure on the afternoon of 14th of Nissan, when we prepare the Pascal Lamb Sacrifice that we partake of on Seder night, the eve of the 15th of Nissan, is given a second chance. Hashem invites all those who were “ritually impure” and “far away” to return to the Holy Temple a month later on the 14th of Iyar. They fulfill the obligation of “Pesach Sheni” – the national second chance – and are completely forgiven for missing Pesach Rishon, the first Pesach.
You are the greatest, Hashem!
Few people could have been “further away” or more “ritually impure” than I was, the way my secular lifestyle used to be. But Hashem is ever so patient – He grants us a second chance. In fact, “far away” and ritually impure” are not only the two tickets to a second chance, they describe much of our assimilated youth. But don’t give up on them – Hashem gives everyone a second chance. We should help others become aware of that second chance.

Just as a little footnote, Pesach Sheni – the second chance – is not only prophetic for me, it’s the story of my life. I was born on Pesach Sheni.

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  the way of love
Batsheva5/19/2011 7:40:43 PM

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