Rosh Chodesh Nissan is around the corner! I am writing this letter on Sunday, and Tuesday is the Big Day!
When you look at this day from a historical perspective three major events that can almost tear your heart open with joy. In so many ways it’s the best day of the year.
IT’S THE DAY THAT IT ALL STARTED
1-There is an argument in the Talmud about when the world was created, the first of Nissan or the first of TIshrei. Rosh Hashanah is the first of TIshrei, which implies that we don’t relate to the first of Nissan as being the beginning of it all. There is another take; the first of TIshrei was the day of actualization. Hashem conceived of creating a world on the first of Nissan. Later, in TIshrei, it moved beyond being just a plan- it became what we call “reality”. Hashem’s decision to make a world involved far more than bringing the planet into existence. It means that He made a place in which human beings would exist. They would have the power to choose good over evil and bring light to dark places.. The Akeidas Yitzchak, one of the early commentators, opens your eyes to all of what this implies. Choosing freely means that there is a fifty /fifty chance of making the wrong choice. Inevitably that means that the plan included human failure. It also means that there is somewhere to go when failure occurs, which is inescapable. Tshuvah was created before the world became a concrete reality in order to make the victory of good over evil a real possibility.
What that means to you, is that Nissan is the beginning!!
THE FIRST MITZVAH GIVEN TO KLAL YISRAEL
2-This is reflected by the mitzvah of consecrating the new moon. G-d commanded the Jews to acknowledge Nissan as the head of all of the months of the year. The word for month in Hebrew is “chodesh”, which shares a root with the word “chiddush” which means something novel. Each month has the potential to bring something into the world that has never yet been actualized. The way the world itself opens up to new beginnings at this time of year is a physical manifestation of what is going on spiritually. This mitzvah (consecrating the new moon), is the first mitzvah that we were given as a people. The moon itself is one of the symbols of who we are as a people. It constantly changes, and is always headed towards renewal, unlike the sun which is static.
What that means to you, is that Nissan is the time of our birth as a people, and has within it the secret of our rebirth.
BRINGING HASHEM’S PRESENCE INTO THE REAL WORLD
3-Once the Jews left Egypt, they were headed towards self-definition. They knew who they weren’t, and who they didn’t want to be. They knew that Hashem exists, is with them, and is not limited by the laws of nature that He created. The process of self- discovery began with the 49 days of wandering before they received the Torah. These days were purposeful. They had to relearn their original identity by reaching inward and coming back into contact with the traits that make us Jews. The way this happened wasn’t through conventional Tshuvah in which you identify the blockage and force it aside. It was by discovering the latent good within us and giving it a voice. The next step was being really ready to receive the Torah. Even that, the most significant day that ever will happen, isn’t the final step towards our self-actualization. Building a sanctuary to Hashem to bring His presence to each of us and from there to the entire world was the next step in the process. The sanctuary had two rooms. One was called. “Holy” and the other was referred to as “Holy of Holies”. The first room had the menorah, the golden sacred table, and the incense alter within it. Only kohanim were allowed entrance. The inner room had only the ark with the tablets of the law. No one was allowed to enter other than the Kohein Gadol on Yom Kippur. Its tznius (innerness, concealment from anything that can be construed as public) is what granted it its sacred nature. The specifications of how to build the sanctuary were extremely detail oriented, required huge amounts of precious metals. The “how to” and the “what exactly” are the topics that are under discussion in several parshas. It all concludes with Rosh Chodesh. On the first of Nissan 2949 (the second year of the Jews journey in the desert), the mishkan was completed. A cloud of has Hashem’s presence hovered over it. It was very much the day of becoming ourselves.
BE A BABY
How do you bring this home to your real life? You are like a new baby, and there are three things that babies can teach you:
1-They are active! It’s time to start doing
2-They cry till they get what they want. Keep praying!!!
3-When they get what they want, they are happy. They don’t just move on to the next item on the wish list!