parasha Beha’alotecha 5782
“In the second year from their exodus from the land of Egypt, in the first month…” – Numbers 9:1-2, JPS 1917 Tanach
This was the only year wherein the B’nei Yisrael partook of the Pesach offering in the wilderness. It would have been a hop, skip, and a jump, figuratively speaking, into the Promised Land after this, wherein the Pesach offering would have continued to be brought within the land of Israel. Tragically, ten well-renown leaders of Israel who were chosen to spy out the land gave an ill report; the Children of Israel were condemned to wander in the desert for forty years.
So, the Pesach offering was not made again until B’nei Yisrael crossed into Eretz Canaan, under the leadership of Joshua (Joshua 5:10). Thus, rather than a continuous annual commemoration of the Exodus, through the celebration of Pesach, the Passover was delayed for thirty-nine years. If you have ever wondered why plans may not work out the way that you had in mind, or why goals have been offset, and deterred until H’Shem created all of the proper circumstances to fall into place, we have a clue in this narrative.
Because of a lack of emunah (faith), the Children of Israel were subject to wander in the desert for forty years; not until the new generation entered the Promised Land, did the people celebrate the Passover. The forty years was a time of testing in the wilderness, “to know what was in thy heart” (Deuteronomy 8:2). When, the covenant was renewed through circumcision, and they were made whole, and Joshua declared, “This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you” (Joshua 8-9). Now, they could partake of the Pesach offering.
H’Shem will cause us to be made whole, by way of the nisyanos (challenges) in our lives. Thus, we must be patient, until the time that we merit to be made whole through the sanctity that He will bestow upon us, as a result of our own personal spiritual growth and character development. If we make an effort to sanctify ourselves, we will be sanctified from Above (Yoma 39a).
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