Friday, May 24, 2013

וְכִי יָגוּר אִתְּכֶם גֵּר -- Pesach Rishon, Sheni, or the general case?

In parshas Behaalosecha (Bemidbar 9:14), after detailing the laws of Pesach Sheni for those who were impure for Pesach Rishon, the Torah concludes with the following statement (I include Rashi's commentary):

14If a proselyte dwells with you, and he makes a Passover sacrifice to the Lord, according to the statutes of the Passover sacrifice and its ordinances he shall make it. One statute shall apply to you, to the proselyte and to the native-born citizen.יד. וְכִי יָגוּר אִתְּכֶם גֵּר וְעָשָׂה פֶסַח לַה' כְּחֻקַּת הַפֶּסַח וּכְמִשְׁפָּטוֹ כֵּן יַעֲשֶׂה חֻקָּה אַחַת יִהְיֶה לָכֶם וְלַגֵּר וּלְאֶזְרַח הָאָרֶץ:
If a proselyte dwells with you, and he makes a Passover sacrifice: I might think that anyone who converts should immediately make a Passover sacrifice. Therefore, Scripture teaches us, “One statute [shall apply to you, to the proselyte and to the native-born citizen].” And this is its meaning: If a proselyte dwells with you, and he comes (Reggio ed. - and the time comes) to make a Passover sacrifice with his friends,“according to the statutes of the Passover sacrifice and its ordinances he shall make it.” - [Sifrei Beha’alothecha 1:30]וכי יגור אתכם גר ועשה פסח: יכול כל המתגייר יעשה פסח מיד, תלמוד לומר חקה אחת וגו', אלא כך משמעו, וכי יגור אתכם גר ובא עת לעשות פסח עם חביריו כחקה וכמשפט יעשה:

We read the following in Nesivos HaShalom:

"If a ger dwells with you: This is a ger tzedek [convert] and not a ger shaar [of the gate; this is a ger toshav who follows the sheva mitzvos bnei Noach].

He makes a Passover sacrifice: And he wishes to make a Passover sacrifice with all of Israel, then according to the statutes and ordinances of the Passover sacrifice shall he make it. And behold, the commandments upon the gerim [converts] regarding Pesach were already written in parashat Bo: 'And when a ger dwells with you, he shall make a Pesach, etc.'

(The author says: And it is possible that the Scriptures is speaking about Pesach Sheni [Josh: given the preceding context], that the ger who converts prior to Pesach and due to uncontrollable circumstances does not make the Pesach in its set time, that he as well shall make a Pesach Sheni according to all its statutes. And so wrote Ibn Ezra.And so have I found in the Sifrei: Rabbi Shimon ben Eleazer says: Behold, if he converts between the two Pesachs, how do I deduce that he makes Pesach Sheni? Therefore it teaches 'like the native-born citizen'. Just as a native-born citizen who did not make the Pesach Rishon makes the Pesach Sheni, so too a ger who did not make the Rishon should make the Sheni. Thus it is explained as well as about Pesach Sheni.)

And the Ramban write that in Parashat Bo it was stated about the Pesach made in Egypt, and the implication was just regarding the converts who converted when they left Egypt, for they all well were part of the miracle, and were encompassed in 'and we He took out from there'. And here it commands regarding the converts who converted in the Midbar, or in Eretz Yisrael, to obligate them in Pesach Doros."

Note the word וירצה on the first line, "and he wishes". In his translation to German as well, he seems to say that this is optional and up to the ger. Thus:
The red underlined words mit machen will means "wants to do".

Shadal writes about this:

"And makes a Passover sacrifice: Not that he makes it if he wants, as it seems from the Targum of Rambman [=Mendelsohnn], but rather as Rashi explains.

He makes a Pesach for Hashem: There is no doubt that the explanation is only like as Rashi explains it, that when a convert converts, and afterwards, when the time comes to make the Pesach [Rishon] and he makes the Pesach, he needs to make it in accordance with all its statutes and commandments. (Even though neither he nor his ancestors left Egypt.) And this is whether for Pesach Rishon or Pesach Sheni.

And the word וירצה which the מבאר wrote, and the word וילל (Josh: underlined German above, mit machen will) that the Metargem [translator] wrote, are not correct."

I concur with Shadal in this. Yes, the immediately preceding context is the laws of Pesach Sheni, but the character of the pasuk does not suggest that this is limited to Pesach Rishon or Sheni; rather, that it is a general inclusion of the ger in all the laws of Pesach. I am not sure of the reasoning offered, that this is so even though he did not personally leave Egypt he is obligated. We should consider it in light of all the other explicit inclusions of geirim.

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