FOMO & Pesach Sheni

Turns out, people suffered from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) already in Torah time. Numbers 9:6-14 gives us the details: “those people” came and asked Moses: What if, through no fault of our own, we didn’t get to bring the Pascal offering? Suppose we came in contact with a dead body, thus encountering spiritual impurity, or have been away on a journey? Did we miss out?
Moses after checking with G-d comes out with a great solution: exactly one month after Passover, those who did not have a chance to celebrate and bring the Pascal sacrifice, can do so today, the 14th of Iyar.
It’s a great idea, Pesach Sheni, “a second Pesach”, and in recent years, it caught on in certain circles. We all love the idea that we always have a second chance, and that FOMO? No worries. Just wait a month and you can redo whatever you missed. And even better! If you missed Pesach and have to commemorate it today, you do not need to clean your house of chametz, switch dishes etc. You can eat some matza, and basically, go on with your life.
But then, we must wonder: is there a Hanukkah sheni? Or the more needed, a Yom Kippur sheni? Suppose I didn’t get to sit in the sukkah, may I build one a month later?
And here’s the other side of this “second chance” story: while we can always do teshuva, and we can always make latkes, some things really do not have a second anything. In the business world it’s often said, ‘you don’t get a second chance at making a first impression’. And that’s just one example.
For me, as mentioned before in this blog, today also marks my father’s yahrzeit. My father died young, which meant that certain things would never happen: he couldn’t be at my Bat Mitzvah; he couldn’t be at any of my graduations, from grade school to college; he couldn’t wait for me when I came home for Shabbat from my army service; we couldn’t discuss what my professors at the university taught; he couldn’t read my postcards from my travels; he couldn’t come with my mom to visit; we could never study Torah and Talmud together. worse: my kids have never met him, never listened to his stories, never enjoyed his immense knowledge in music, history, law, cultures of the world, never went hiking with him, never sat on his lap while he played the piano, never heard him sing Kiddush on Shabbat, never held his hand while walking to shul.
What would Moses say if I asked him about all the things I missed out on? I’m afraid he’d say, too bad, darling, and look on the bright side. I’m wondering now if perhaps the reason the people posed the question to Moses in the first place is because they too knew how rare “second chances” are. If anything, today is a reminder to use our time and do what we’re called on when we can.

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3 Responses to FOMO & Pesach Sheni

  1. Arleen Burns says:

    A moving post, Michal. May your dad’s memory be a blessing!


    Sent from my iPad

  2. neskama says:

    What a well worded, heartfelt beautiful tribute to your father. You are something else Michal. And thank you for sharing

    עם ישראל חיneska נסקה

    Date: Sun, 3 May 2015 17:47:20 +0000

  3. Michael Baron says:

    My thoughts are with you at this difficult time. Beautiful tribute.

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