While every week is special in its own right, this week feels like one of new beginnings.
- The official season of spring is upon us.
- We greet the Jewish new month of Nissan this week. Nissan is the month of the holiday of Pesach, which is mandated to be in the spring season.
- And, finally, in the weekly Torah portion, we read Vayikra, which begins the third book of the Torah, Leviticus.
On the first day of the month of Nissan, two weeks before the Exodus, G‑d instructed Moses to sanctify the new month. This ushered in the first Jewish month and commenced the lunar calendar that Jews have been following ever since. It was the first commandment given to the newly born nation of Israel.
There is a dispute in the Talmud as to which month G‑d created the world. Rabbi Eliezer says the world was created in Tishrei, but Rabbi Yehoshua claims it was in this month of Nissan.
Like a sphere with two poles, the Jewish year has two “heads” or primary points of reference. We have Rosh Hashanah in the month of Tishrei, which is the “head of the year” and marks the first day of human history. And we have Nissan, heading the months of the year and marking our first steps as a Jewish nation.
Nissan is always in the spring. Spring signifies new opportunities. Nature has awakened from its long hibernation and is getting ready to burst into new life. So, too, each of us has an opportunity for new potential and growth. Just as the greenery breaks forth from its hiding place in the dark earth, we can break free from whatever was holding us back in our past to embrace an unrestrained future, brimming with optimism and possibilities.
Let’s use the energy of this new month and new season to tap into our greatest potential.
In just a few weeks, we will celebrate the holiday of Passover, whose Hebrew word, pesach, means “to leap.” We were miraculously freed from Egypt, whose Hebrew word, mitzrayim, means “restraints” and “constrictions.” From today onwards, let’s leap into the future, liberated from former restraints and brimming with new promises.
Wishing you a wonderful new week and new season!