This week’s Torah portion, Beha’a lot’cha (Num. 8:1 – 12:16) speaks about Pesach sheini, “The second Passover”. In chapter 9, Moses instructs the Israelites to commemorate the events of the exodus from Egypt, which had occurred exactly one year earlier, on the fourteenth day of Nisan. However, there were some men who were impure because they had come into contact with a corpse, and they could not offer the Pesach sacrifice. They came to Moses, who consulted God, and God responded that anyone who was unable to offer a sacrifice on the fourteenth of Nisan might offer it one month later, on the fourteenth of Iyar.
In the Etz Hayim commentary, Rabbi Harold Kushner reflects on this interaction, “To the sincere individual, life often does offer second chances for spiritual fulfillment that may have been missed when the opportunity first presented itself”. How many times have we looked back on an opportunity not seized, on something prized that we were not able to grasp? Rabbi Kushner uses this verse to provide both a comfort and a challenge. The comfort is that the chance may likely come again. The challenge is to look out for it.