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Pesach Sheni
Beskidy - Owca.JPG

Lambs were used for the Passover sacrifice.

Halakhic sources*
Texts in Jewish law relating to this article:
Bible: Numbers 9:1-14
* Not meant as a definitive ruling. Some observances may be rabbinical, customs or Torah based.

Pesach Sheni (Hebrew: פסח שני, trans. Second Passover), is a minor Jewish observance on the 14th of Iyar in the Hebrew Calendar. The holiday is mentioned in the Torah in Numbers 9:1-14 of which the following text is a paraphrase.

Moses announced that the Passover sacrifice (Korban Pesach, or Passover lamb) may only be eaten by people who are ritually pure. Men came to Moses, complaining that as people who came into contact with the dead, were on that basis ritually unclean, and were unable to fulfill the mitzvah of Passover. Moses consulted God who responded by announcing that anyone who was unable to sacrifice the paschal lamb on the 14th of Nisan, either due to defilement or inability to journey to the place of sacrifice in time, was under the duty to perform the sacrifice on the 14th of Iyar, a full month later, and only then eat the paschal lamb along with matzah and maror.

In modern times, after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and because of lack of access to the Temple Mount, Jews are unable to perform the Passover sacrifice, either on Passover or on Pesach Sheni. It is customary to eat a piece of Matzah.

In Chassidic philosophy, especially as expounded upon by Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, Pesach Sheni is about second chances, since the original Pesach Sheni was in response to people who had been unable to be included in the Pesach observance and were granted another opportunity exactly one full moon after the first Pesach.[1]

References

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