It is rare that you get a chance to make up for a lost opportunity. Especially when it comes to a Mitzvah with a specific time. If you didn’t hear Shofar on Rosh Hashanah, you can’t make it up by blowing Shofar the week after. Lighting Shabbos candles on Tuesday does not help. One exception to this is the Korban Pesach. In Parshat Beha’aloscha Moshe was told to command the people to bring the Korban Pesach on the 14th of Nisan.

He does so and the Torah records that they did it on the 14th of Nisan. The Torah then relates that a group of people came to him to say that they were Tamei and were not able to bring the Korban Pesach. Why should they lose out on the opportunity for the mitzvah? Hashem then tells Moshe that they will be given a second opportunity. Anyone who was unable to bring it in Nisan, can bring the Pesach offering on the 14th of Iyar. This is extremely unusual. Normally, you don’t get a make-up or do over.

Rabbi Shalom Rosner quotes a Gemara in Brochos 35b discussing the laws of Maaser (tithing) that says “the later generations were not like the earlier ones” -i.e. they were not as pious as the earlier generations. The laws of Maaser have specific rules. To be obligated to give Maaser on your produce, it has to be brought into the storage house and through the normal entrance – i.e. the door. If it stays out in the fields or is brought in through another way such as the window or roof, the obligation of Maaser does not take effect. The earlier generations were very careful to bring in their produce and do it through the door. They made sure to fulfill the mitzvah. Later generations used the loophole. They would bring in their produce through the window or roof so they would not be obligated. Technically, they did not transgress the Mitzvah, but they also did not fulfill it. This was an indication that they did not really appreciate the Mitzvah and did not have a true love of Hashem and Torah. Someone who truly appreciates a Mitzvah will actively look for opportunities to do a Chesed or a Mitzvah.

The people came to Moshe because they wanted to fulfill the Mitzvah of the Korban Pesach even though they technically were not obligated. Someone who is Tamei cannot bring the Korban. Therefore, they are exempt. Yet they felt bad that they did not get the opportunity. There are many Mitzvos that we may not be obligated to do because the opportunity is not in front of me. If the opportunity to help someone else is not in front of me, I don’t have to travel around looking for a Chesed opportunity. Yet, if we truly appreciate the importance of the mitzvah, we will look for ways to perform them even when it is a bit difficult for us. Instead of looking for the loopholes, we should be looking for the opportunities.

Good Shabbos,

Rabbi Shaps and the JET Team