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The Systems of the Jewish Year

Pesach Sheini

By Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Haber


Today is Pesach Sheini, the 14th of Iyar. Pesach Sheini is the make up date for those who missed Pesach the first time around due to their inability to bring the Korban Pesach on Pesach. In fact the Yerushalmi says that if Moshiach would arrive between Pesach and Pesach Sheini we would bring the Korban Pesach on Pesach Sheini. Especially significant is the fact that it is the only day on the Jewish calendar that was granted as a holiday because the people wanted it, a topic for a more spiritually inclined post.

When Pesach Sheini was in effect, the schedule was as follows: On the 14th of Iyar they would bring the Korban Pesach, and on that evening, which was the beginning of the 15th of Iyar, they would eat the Korban Pesach together with Matzoh and Maror.

In this day and age, when we don’t have the Beis Hamikdash, how do we celebrate Pesach Sheini?

Matzah

Many have a custom to eat matzah on Pesach Sheini as a remembrance. When this Matzah should be eaten is subject to dispute. Logically it would seem that it should be eaten on the night following Pesach Sheini, the eve of the 15th, because that’s when the Matzah would’ve been eaten. This was in fact the custom of the Maharam Ash. This was also the opinion of Rav Tuvya Goldstein and is the opinion of Rav Dovid Feinstein.

The vastly common custom is however to eat the Matzoh on the 14th of Iyar. There are various reasons given for this, some Kabalistic some very technical. (See Kli Chemdah Parshas Veaschanan and Minhag Yisroel Torah).

Other Foods

The widely accepted custom among those who eat Matzoh on Pesach Sheini is to eat Matzoh only.  There were various other customs, among them to eat Maror, Charoses and boiled eggs. These minhagim don’t seem to have caught on.

Tachanun

Most congregations do not recite Tachanun on Pesach Sheini. It’s notably absent from the list of days on which Tachanun is omitted that is found in Shulchan Aruch and is not added by the Rema or the Mishna Berura. It is however mentioned by the Shaarei Teshuvah who discusses whether Tachnun should be omitted on the 15th of Iyar as well. It seems that the Minhag is to omit Tachanun on the 14th. In a minority of congregations outside of Israel it is omitted on the 14th and 15th.

Regarding Mincha on the 13th, there are various customs, most Yeshivos do say Tachanun, and most Shuls do not.

There is also a Chasidic custom to omit Tachanun for the seven days following Pesach Sheini, based on the Zohar.

Eis Ratzon

The Zohar writes that the gates of Heaven open on Pesach Sheini for everyone and remain open for seven days. This is an auspicious time for all of our prayers to be heard.

Much of the source material for this article was found in Minhag Yisroel Torah

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