Mystery Men by Ari Manas

(2006/5766) Many different ideas are discussed in Parshat
Behaalotcha, ranging from the lighting of the Menorah to the
Halachot of Tzaraat.  Included in the vast array of topics is the
commandment of Pesach Sheni, the Second Passover.  The
purpose of this Mitzvah is to allow those people who missed
the main Chag to make it up.  Who, specifically, is obligated in
this Mitzvah, for whom the Torah supplied a second Chag?
There are two groups of people who are required to bring
a second Passover offering: people who live too far from the
Beit HaMikdash to travel to Jerusalem for the main offering
and people who were Tamei, impure, during Pesach.  If any
person who is physically close and ritually pure misses the first
Passover offering, he will suffer the terrible fate of Kareit.
If these are the only circumstances for which someone
brings the second Passover offering, then Behaalotcha must
be referring to people who were Temei’im, as Bnei Yisrael
were not yet obligated in Aliyah LeRegel, the Mitzvah to
congregate on the Regalim, and all of the camps in Bnei
Yisrael were set up equidistant from the Mishkan.  How did
these unnamed people become Tamei, and who were they? 
Why were they so fervent in their Avodat Hashem that they
demanded a second chance from Moshe to do a Mitzvah they
were no longer obligated to observe?
According to Rabi Yossi HaGelili (Sukkah 25a), the people
who beseeched Moshe for a second chance were the people
who carried the bones of Yosef HaTzaddik from Egypt.  They
were Temei’im from contact with bones, a source of impurity. 
However, Rabi Akiva argues that these unknown people could
not have been the carriers of the bones, because they and
Bnei Yisrael were camped at Har Sinai for nearly a year by this
time, giving them sufficient time to become Tehorim again.  If
that was the case, then they would actually be Chayavim
Kareit, because they were negligent in becoming pure and
therefore missed the offering of Hashem! Rather, the people
who were Temei’im were Mishael and Eltzafan, the two
individuals who carried the remains of Nadav and Avihu from
the Mishkan.  Rabi Yitzchak offers a third opinion.  He says
that Rabi Yossi HaGelili cannot be correct, using the same
logic as Rabi Akiva.  However, Rabi Yitzchak says that Rabi
Akiva cannot be right either, because Mishael and Eltzafan
also had ample time to become Tehorim.  The deaths of
Nadav and Avihu occurred on the first day of Nissan, and the
Korban Pesach is on the 14 th day of Nissan, giving the carriers
more than the needed week.  According to Rabi Yitzchak, the
unnamed people were those who buried a Meit Mitzvah, an
unknown person whom they found dead.  Rabi Yitzchak’s
opinion highlights the great status of the Jewish people in the
Midbar – even average people were involved in Mitzvot as
important as Meit Mitzvah.
There is no right or wrong answer in this Machloket, and
indeed, all of the opinions highlight the great level of the
nation.  Even according to those who disagree with Rabi
Yitzchak’s opinion, the debate reflects positively on the era
that requested a Mitzvah without any incentive to do so other
than its love of Hashem.  As Rabbi Jachter said in class, there
is a connection between the forefathers and the children, and
hopefully, with the Will of Hashem, we will all be able to rise to
this level that members of our nation reached in that time.

A Positive Spin by Avi Levinson

Miraculous Evidence by Tzvi Zuckier