Friday, March 23, 2012

Rosh Chodesh Nissan

The Torah reminds us that that the holiday of Passover commemorates our exodus from Egypt, but the celebration begins and continues all month, during the Hebrew month of Nissan. Nissan is referred to as “Aviv”, the month of “Spring”, and we certainly did blossom.

 The Israelites had to prove that they were worthy of redemption, and part of that was having them actively participate in that process.
  God told Moses to communicate to the people to set aside an animal, and at the right moment, to sacrifice it and display its blood on their doorposts. God assured Moses that the people were ready for the challenge and for this time of renewal.
"This month shall mark for you the beginning of months." This month marks a new beginning, the point in time when God's chosen people are finally to come into their own. This month begins a new way of counting time, the beginning of what will be a new and different reality.
Spring, after all, is the symbol of renewal, the time that nature itself is renewed, coming to life after the depths of winter. What makes Nissan the month of spring is not the fact of liberation itself but the fact that the Jewish people took advantage of that liberation to start a new beginning, as a people committed to God and His Torah.
Perhaps that's why the Torah associates the entire month of Nissan with the redemption from Egyptian bondage. Human beings struggle with the challenges that face them, sometimes taking a step back before the next two steps forward.
As in Egypt, our part in the ultimate drama will not be played perfectly. We will struggle, we will stumble and sometimes we will move in the wrong direction. But if we are truly committed to making this Nissan a month of new beginnings, then perhaps, cold as this winter has been, the spring is closer than we think.

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