ניסן, meaning miraculous, is related to the Hebrew word for miracle נס and the Hebrew word for test/challenge נסיון. This speaks to the difficulty that can arise when even good things, miracles in fact, happen to us. Would I have left Egypt? Would I have walked through the parted sea? Even when miracles happen, it takes courage to accept and step into them (and sometimes they come in all sorts of disguises). This month is also referred to in the Torah as חודש האביב, the moon of Spring or of the Renewal of the Grain Crop. Originally it was called חודש הראשון, the first month. This is because the Jews were given the commandment to celebrate Rosh Chodesh upon leaving Egypt, which was in Nisan. Counting began from the month where the Jews were not only granted freedom but where they embraced the challenge of where that freedom might lead them, which is in large part what we celebrate on Passover. 

According to some, the 1st of Nisan celebrates the moon, the seasons and time itself! In fact on this very day, the Shekhinah, G!d's presence, descended into the tabernacle for the first time. According to Midrash Tadshe 2, "The tabernacle represents the whole world. The altar represents the earth. The sacrifices on the alter represent the fruits of the earth. The twelve loaves of showbread represent the twelve months. The two pillars represent the sun and the moon. The washbasin of the priests represents the the sea." This month, we celebrate the unification between creation and emanation, earth and sky, us and G!d. We relive our Exodus from Egypt: from slavery, narrowness and silence towards true freedom, expansiveness and expression.

Nisan by    Meirav Ong

Nisan by Meirav Ong