1. Nisan Is in the Spring

Nisan is one of the few months mentioned in the Torah by name. G‑d refers to it as Chodesh HaAviv,1 the Month of Spring. Ensuring that Nisan remains in spring forms the backbone of the entire intricate Jewish calendar, including the leap year.

Read: 13 Facts About the Jewish Leap Year

2. It Is the First Month of the Jewish Calendar

“This month shall be for you the first of the months,”2 G‑d told Moses. Curiously, it is one of four “heads of the year” listed in the Talmud,3 one of which is the first of Tishrei, known universally as Rosh Hashanah, the head of the year.

Read: Our Other Head

3. G‑d Took Us out of Egypt in Nisan

After 210 years of suffering in exile, G‑d took His nation out of Egypt. This took place in the month of Nisan. “He takes the prisoners out at the most opportune time,”4 says King David. According to the Midrash, Moses told the people: “See the lovingkindness that He bestowed upon you, that He took you out in a month in which it is suitable to go out, when there is neither heat nor cold nor rain.”5

4. Passover Begins on the 15th

Passover, held annually on the anniversary of our Exodus, begins on the 15th of Nisan. Possibly the most widely celebrated Jewish holiday, Passover is observed by eating matzah and maror (bitter herbs) and drinking four cups of wine, during a special meal called a Seder, in which we recount the gripping story of the miraculous Exodus.

Read: 14 Passover Facts and Traditions Every Jew Should Know

5. It’s Also a Name

Nisan is one of only two Jewish months whose names are also given names. Nisan is a fairly common name for boys, and Aviv and Aviva are fairly common male and female given names in Modern Hebrew. The only other month that is a name is Sivan, which is a common name for girls in Israel. Fun fact: Pesach (Passover) is the only Jewish holiday that is also given as a (male) name.

Explore: The Hebrew Name

6. It Is a Miracle Month

The word nes means “miracle,” making Nisan a month of miracles. The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, would say that seeing “Nisan” in a dream portends to “miracles of miracles” in the future.6

Read: Nisan, Month of Miracles

7. Education and Sharing Day Is in Nisan

President Barack Obama presents a ceremonial copy of the “Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A.” proclamation that he issued on March 31, 2015 to a delegation of Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries and educators from around the country. (Official White House Photo: Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama presents a ceremonial copy of the “Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A.” proclamation that he issued on March 31, 2015 to a delegation of Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries and educators from around the country. (Official White House Photo: Pete Souza)

To emphasize the vital role of education in society, the United States annually marks “Education and Sharing Day USA.” Established in 1978 by a joint Congressional resolution, it is timed to coincide with Nisan 11, the anniversary of the Rebbe’s birth in 1902.

Explore: Education and Sharing Day USA

8. There Is a Blessing to Be Said Over Fruit Trees

If one sees a budding fruit tree during the month of Nisan, there is a special blessing to be said: “Blessed are You … Who has made nothing lacking in His world, and created in it goodly creatures and goodly trees to give mankind pleasure.” Many people visit botanical gardens during this time, so as to avail themselves of an opportunity to observe this beautiful mitzvah.

Read: The Laws of the Blessing on Blossoming Fruit Trees

9. Nisan 1 Took 10 Crowns

The sages say that the first day of Nisan of that year “took 10 crowns:” It was (1) the first day of the week; (2) the first day the princes brought their offerings; (3) the first day the Aaronic priesthood was put into effect; (4) the first day of the Temple sacrifices; (5) the first time a fire descended from heaven onto the altar; (6) the first time that sacred foods were eaten in the Tabernacle; (7) the first time that the Divine Presence rested amidst the people; (8) the first day the priests conferred the priestly blessing; (9) the first time it was forbidden to sacrifice to G‑d on ad hoc altars; and finally (10) it was the first month of the new year.7

10. The Princes Brought Sacrifices for 12 Days

Nearly a year after the Exodus, the Tabernacle—the traveling sanctuary that the people built for G‑d—was inaugurated in time for Nisan 1. On each of the first 12 days of the month, another of the 12 princes of Israel brought inauguration offerings. Now, on each of these days we read a special Yehi Ratzon prayer along with the Torah portion detailing the gifts brought on that day.

Explore: The Nassi

11. We Don’t Say Tachanun All Month

Because the first 12 days commemorate the joyous offerings of the princes, we don’t say Tachanun (confession of sins) and similar prayers. Neither do we say it during the festival of Passover. Since the majority of the month passes without saying Tachanun, we don’t say it for the balance of the month, even after Passover.

Watch: Tachanun: The Confessional Prayer

12. Nisan Has 30 Days

In the current (fixed) Hebrew calendar, Nisan has 30 days, and the following month, Iyar, has 29. The months then continue to alternate until we reach Cheshvan and Kislev, which can each have either 29 or 30 days, depending on the year. Interestingly, the Talmud questions whether the Nisan of Exodus was 29 or 30 days long, which would open up the possibility that the Giving of the Torah (which was 50 days after the Exodus) was on a different day than it is currently observed on the holiday of Shavuot.

Read: 11 Shavuot Facts Every Jew Should Know