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Thoughts from R' Blass 'Pesach Sheini and the Missing Moon'

05/11/2012 06:17:06 AM

May11

 

This past Motzei Shabbos we exited the shul to be greeted with the sight of rain falling, which meant that for the first time in my memory Kiddush Levana was officially 'rained out'. I'm sure there were some who gladly retrieved their car keys and headed home, but I know that for myself, and I'm sure for others, there was a certain feeling of disappointment. Kiddush Levana, as described by the gemara, is a beautiful opportunity to take a moment to say a bracha over creation and to reflect on the wonders of nature that perhaps we mistakenly normally take for granted. Were we 'to blame' for missing out on this mitzvah? Of course not. But should we mildly lament the opportunity lost to continue to cultivate a meaningful spiritual awareness of the world? I believe so.
 
I couldn't help but think of this incident of the 'missing moon' in contemplating the significance of our celebration this past Sunday of Pesach Sheini. Usually Pesach Sheini is only a good opportunity to fight in shul about should we or should we not recite Tachanun. In reality, Pesach Sheini truly speaks to the grand spirit of klal Yisroel. There were Jews in the desert who were exempt from bringing the korban Pesach for absolutely valid reasons, but yet they stepped forward and asked Moshe Rabbeinu 'lama nigara'- why should we lose out on the opportunity to partake in this meaningful experience? Why should we rely on a technical exemption at the expense of cultivating a dimension of our religious personality? What a fundamental statement that highlights what the she'ifos- the desires- of a Jew should be.
 
The truth is that we often find ourselves limited in what we can accomplish. A woman, juggling all of the needs of a family and often a career might need, on occasion, to rely on a lenient position in regards to daily prayer. A man, exhausted from the rigors of his day, might limit his daily learning to the bare minimum. A family struggling to pay their bills can sometimes barely squeak out any tzeddaka, let alone ma'aser. We all want to do more chesed but inevitably find ourselves emotionally and physically tapped out. This is often the reality of our lives and the Torah and Chazal are sensitive to these realities. In a real sense though, our saving grace are our she'ifos - the desires- that continue to reside in the inner recesses of our beings. Perhaps exemptions are there, perhaps we are limited in practice- but do our souls still cry out for more? For more growth, more generosity, more of a connection to the divine. 
 
In writing this, I think of a close friend of mine who passed away recently in his 90's. Even during the last weeks of his life, when he had every reason to be home in bed, he felt he needed to be in shul. Its where he felt a Jew belonged. When he became too ill to continue being a presence in shul he lamented to me what he felt he was missing. I have to believe that when he ultimately left this world, his heart's desires led the way, resolutely knocking on the gates of heaven.
 
Let us collectively hope that we can fulfill each mitzva to the fullest letter of the law. Let us strive in our performance of mitzvos to meet the exacting standards that are the hallmark of a holy nation. At the same time, we ask that the desires and stirrings of our soul serve as a korban of sorts to he who is the 'bochein levavos' the searcher of hearts. May we be zoche to continue to cultivate this beautiful inner life.
 
Have a good and meaningful Shabbos
 
R' Blass
Wed, November 13 2019 15 Cheshvan 5780