An interesting episode is recounted in this week's Torah portion, Parshat Beha'alotcha. A group of men approached Moshe in the desert and told him that they were very upset that they had been unable to bring the Pesach sacrifice on the 14th day of Nissan, due to the fact that they were ritually unclean at that time. They said to Moshe, "Why should we be deprived?"
The Pesach sacrifice is not an easy mitzvah to do. Yet, these men desired to do it, and when circumstances prevented them from doing it, they bemoaned the loss of the mitzvah. Moshe was perplexed and presented their problem to G-d, Who told him that a second chance would be given to these men to fulfill the mitzvah of the Pesach sacrifice, one month later. As a result of the requests of those men in the desert, G-d established what is called "Pesach Sheini" (a second Pesach) for all future generations.
In this episode, we see the greatness of our forefathers in the desert. Their question - "Why should we be deprived?" reveals a great deal about what was important to them. These men were saddened and upset because they had lost the opportunity to do a mitzvah.
For most people, the lack of a beautiful home, a late model car and a balanced bank account might create a sense of deprivation. On the other hand, to be denied the opportunity to attend synagogue services or give tzedakah would not be considered a loss.
We need to ask ourselves how we measure up to our forefathers in the desert. What do we cherish and consider important? What causes a sense of lack within us? Do we feel deprived only when we do not receive, or do we feel we are missing something when we can not give?
G-d told Moshe to give the men another opportunity, because He saw their sincere devotion to the mitzvah.The answer that Moshe brought back from G-d must be understood not only as an answer to the men who could not participate in the Pesach offering at that time, but also as a lesson for us for all time. There is always a second chance given to rebuild our lives, and to grasp opportunities which we have missed. Only we must be like the men in the desert - to know what we are lacking and to seek out the second chance!
(from Table Talk by Rabbi Raphael Pelcovitz)
Wishing you a good Shabbos,