Pesach Sheni

Pesach Sheni

Many eat matzo on Pesach Sheni in remembrance of the Korban Pesach
Official name Hebrew: פסח שני
Also called Translation: "Second Passover"
Observed by Jews
Type Jewish
Significance Day to make up the Korban Pesach (Pascal lamb sacrifice) if missed on Passover
Celebrations Some Chasidic Jews conduct a seder resembling a Passover seder
Date 14th day of Iyar
2015 date May 3
2016 date May 22
Related to Passover
Pesach Sheni
Halakhic texts relating to this article
Torah: Numbers 9:1-14
Mishnah: Pesahim 9:1-4
Babylonian Talmud: Pesahim 92b-96a

Pesach Sheni (Hebrew: פסח שני, trans. Second Passover) occurs every year on 14 Iyar. This is exactly one month after 14 Nisan, the day before Passover, which was the day prescribed for bringing the Korban Pesach ("Paschal offering", i.e. Passover lamb) in anticipation of that holiday.[1] As described in the source text for this mitzvah (Numbers 9:1-14), the Israelites were about to celebrate Passover one year after leaving Egypt.

The offering of the Korban Pesach was at the core of that celebration. However "certain men"[2] were ritually impure from contact with human corpses, and were therefore ineligible to participate in the Korban Pesach. Faced with the conflict of the requirement to participate in the Korban Pesach and their ineligibility due to impurity, they approached Moses and Aaron for instructions, which resulted in the communication of the law of Pesach Sheni.[3]

Observance during the Temple period


As described in Numbers 9:9-13, a Jew may bring the Korban Pesach on Pesach Sheni if s/he is ritually impure due to contact with a dead body or were on a "distant journey". As elucidated in Mishnah Pesahim (9:1-4)[4] and its Gemara:[5]

In net effect, anyone unavoidably prevented from offering the Korban Pesach on Passover may do so on Pesach Sheni. However one may not intentionally defer the Korban Pesach if it is in his/her power to offer it on Passover.

Similarities and differences compared to Passover

The Mishnah (9:3)[4] and Gemara[6] outline the following similarities and differences in the laws of the Korban Pesach when it is offered on Pesach Sheni, compared to when it is offered on Passover:

More generally, the full seven-day Ḥag haMatzot (Festival of Unleavened Bread)—the holiday now commonly referred to as Passover—is not observed in conjunction with Pesach Sheni.

Observance in modern times

Due to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, Jews are unable to perform the Passover sacrifice, neither on Passover nor on Pesach Sheni. Some have the custom to eat matzo during Pesach Sheni in memory of the sacrifice.[7] Some have the custom to omit Tahanun from the daily prayer service,[8] though this custom is not observed universally.[9]

In Hasidic thought

Pesach Sheni is relatively prominent in Chabad and other Hasidic thought. One theme commonly expressed for this holiday is second chances.[7][10][11] In several Hasidic groups, the rebbe conducts a tish on Pesach Sheni.

The Rebbes of Nadvorna and related groups conduct a tish with four cups of wine, matza and maror, in the manner of a seder.[12][13]

See also


  1. Leviticus 23:5
  2. A baraita cited in the Babylonian Talmud Sukkah 25b offers two separate opinions: those carrying the body of Joseph (son of Jacob) (as per Genesis 50:25), or those who buried Aaron's sons Nadav and Avihu (as a consequence of the events of Leviticus 10:1-7).
  3. Rashi, commenting on 9:7 and quoting Sifrei, suggests that the law was communicated in this way in order to reward the merit of those who asked.
  4. 1 2 Wikisource link to Mishnah Pesahim Chapter 9:1-4. Wikisource.
  5. BT 92b-96a
  6. BT 95 a-b
  7. 1 2 Leshem (Blobstein), Rabbi Zvi (2006). "Pesach Sheini 5766: The holiday of the second chance". Torah Online. Jerusalem, Israel: Midereshet Nishmat. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
  8. See Siddur, Shacharit for weekdays.
  9. Yakovson, Rabbi Yechezkel (August 31, 2005). "Pesach Sheni". Yeshivat Sha'alvim. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  10. "Hayom Yom (for May 8, 2009)". Retrieved 2009-05-12.
  11. "The Second Passover: There's Always a Second Chance". Retrieved 21 January 2013..
  12. Zinner, Gavriel (2002). "פסח שני". Niṭʻe Gavriʼel: Hilkhot Pesaḥ (נטעי גבריאל: הלכות פסח) (in Hebrew). 3. Cong. Nitei Gavriel. pp. 324–332. LCCN 2002442516. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  13. Genut, Mordechai (2010). "טו באייר" [15 Iyar]. Luaḥ Davar be-ʻito: 5771 (לוח דבר בעתו: ה'תשע"א) / Each Thing in its Proper Time. לוח דבר בעתו (in Hebrew). Bnei Brak: Ḳupat Gemaḥ Aḥiʻezer. p. 951. LCCN 89645445. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
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