What was it that preceded the whole world?

Has the Torah preceded the creation of the world? And if so, what does it mean?

Phil Chernofsky,

World Map (illustration)
World Map (illustration)

There are going to be several points presented here. Some minor and some major. Let's take it slow.

It's mid-Sivan, and we are talking about Pesach Sheni because it is in this week's sedra.

A month ago, mid-Iyar, Pesach Sheni was (or at least, could have been) a hot topic, because IT WAS PESACH SHENI.

A month earlier, mid-Nisan, specifically on the last day of Chol HaMoed Pesach, a good topic to review and to speak about, was... Pesach Sheini. Because the Torah reading of the sixth day of Pesach is taken from B'haalot'cha.

Now, really, we can study any Torah topic we want at any time of the year. The topic of study does not have to match the calendar or the parsha of the week. But the fact is, we tend to be able to concentrate better on a topic when it is connected to something.

Pesach Sheini is just an example. A bigger example might be Matan Torah and/or the Aseret HaDibrot. That plugs in nicely to Parshat Yitro (and Mishpatim and Ki Tisa). And, of course, it and they are a great topic for Shavuot (duh!) And then a couple of months later, there is Parshat Va'etchanan.

Just an observation.

Okay, what about Pesach Sheini.

A couple of things, at least.

We have mitzvot that are not pinned to specific times. Those mitzvot can be done at any time.

But then there are mitzvot that are very time-specific.

The tenth of Tishrei is Yom Kippur. Not the day before and not the day after. Just that day. You miss it for some reason - it better be a good reason - then hopefully, next year it will work out better.

Build a Sukka in some places outside of Israel, and it is possible that it will rain for the entire seven days that we are commanded to dwell in a Sukka. Then, on Shmini Atzeret, the sun comes out, the weather is perfect for dwelling in the Sukka. Nice try, but, again, better luck* next year.

In this week's sedra, there were a few fellows who could not participate in Korban Pesach. And, they had the Torah's number one legitimate excuse and reason to miss it. No foul at all.

But these fellows (many speculate that the were cousins of Moshe and Aharon. And not only were they excused for being Tamei, their defilement came in the performance of a great mitzva - tending to the burials of Nadav and Avihu.

But they came to Moshe with a 'complaint'. Why should we miss out...?

Moshe could have explained the obvious issues of AVAR YOMO BATEIL KORBANO. Not their fault. Completely blame-free.

But that's not what happened. Moshe honored these fellows with asking Hashem to address them - so to speak.

And their answer was something that is technically surprising and unique. They got another chance to do the mitzva the so much desired to do.

Not exactly. But close enough. Sedra Summary presents Pesach Sheni - we don't need to go over the details here. But there are still two points to make clear.

The Korban Pesach that we are commanded to bring on the afternoon of the 14th of Nisan, can only be brought in the afternoon of the 14th of Nisan. And it can only be eaten at night of the 15th of Nisan, together with Matza and Maror.

Doesn't matter how much you really want to do it. If you miss its timeslots, that's it.


One who missed Korban Pesach in Nisan, has a new obligation - he is to bring Korban Pesach on the 14th of Iyar. Offering the Korban then is very similar to what everyone else had done the previous month. Eating that following night is significantly different - but that's not the point here.

Here's the real point of this Lead Tidbit:

What exactly happened when those men who were T'mei Meit came before Moshe with their 'complaint'/request?

Is it possible that G-d 'invented' Pesach Sheini on the spot in order to pacify or reward these men for their positive attitude towards mitzvot in general. Towards that mitzva that expresses our gratitude and appreciation to G-d for taking us out of Egypt?

Don't think so. Not the way G-d works. The Torah predates the whole world. G-d asked Moshe to stay with Him after Revelation at Sinai. Moshe did. For forty days and forty nights. No food or drink. (Not even refreshments like we serve all night on Shavuot.)

During those 40 days, one of the mitzvot that G-d taught Moshe, that He told him would be part of the Torah - was Pesach Sheini. Did Moshe forget it? Did he defer to G-d because of the importance of the situation? Could be.

But Pesach Sheini was not an after- thought. G-d doesn't do afterthoughts.

SOF MAASEH B'MACHSHAVA T'CHILA - what happens later was in G-d's thought from the beginning.

Same goes for the Laws of Inheritance. Tz'lofchad's daughters did not catch G-d off guard. No such thing. The Laws of Inheritance were part of Torah MiSinai. Perhaps they were held back from the people and presented as a testimonial to the feelings of the five daughters about Eretz Yisrael.

Even though this Lead Tidbit has taken more room and words than usual, there is still a lot more to say. If bringing up the topic for new discussion has been accomplished, then that's good too. Food for thought. B'TEI-AVON.

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