by R. Yitzchak Blau
Rabbi Emmanuel Feldman, former editor of Tradition, was a community Rav in Atlanta for many years. In this essay, from the Winter 1989 issue, R. Feldman explores the mizva of Pesach Sheni. Why do Jews merit a second chance to fulfill the commandment of korban Pesach but do not have a makeup option for other missed mizvot? Secondly, why did God only mention this opportunity after a request came from the people? Building on the work of R. Meir Simha Hakohen from Dvinsk, R. Feldman outlines all the fundamental Jewish ideas manifest in this first and primary commandment. Furthermore, he sees this second opportunity as a symbol for the possibility of teshuva. A Jew who was distant or ritually defiled in Nissan can return in Iyyar and perform his duties. If so, the initiative had to come from below since repentance must be initiated by man.