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Rosh Chodesh Nissan 5780

Even though we all know that פסח is coming, with all of us at home, it almost seems surreal in a sense. Today is ראש חדש ניסן, and that is always a milestone in the פסח preparations. With this in mind, I would like to share some positive thoughts to carry us forward. Rosh Chodesh Nissan, in biblical times is a date that is reminiscent of two major events, discussed in the תורה/Torah. The first took place when the Jewish people were still in מצרים/Egypt, when we were given the מצוה/mitzva of Sanctifying the New Moon, at the same time proclaiming that the month of ניסן/Nissan is the first month of the year. Immediately after this, we were commanded to bring the פסח sacrifice with all of its details. The second event, occurred one year later, when on ראש חדש ניסן and the Jewish people were already free people, had received the תורה, and were still camping at הר סיני/Mt. Sinai. On that day, the משכן was erected, and the נשיאים, the leaders of the tribes, began bringing their sacrifices.

Although there are differences between the two events, one took place in a time of slavery and the other in a time of freedom; one took place in Egypt and the other at הר סיני, they form one continuous theme. In a world of slavery, the dominant reality is the physical, stripped of all spiritual influence. But the Jewish people were moving towards freedom, not only physical but spiritual freedom too. The קרבן פסח/Pesach sacrifice offered this perspective. The קרבן פסח was the only sacrifice where the one who brought it, was the one who ate it, exclusively. The physical act of eating, an expression of slavery, but when ה׳ commands it, becomes an expression of spiritual freedom. Each family learned that embracing Hashem's מצוות/mitzvos, is the key to true freedom in all ways. In this last sentence, I initially wrote that each family was taught…and I changed it to learned…What's the difference? The movement from slavery to freedom is not a simple passage. They had to leave the comfort of Egypt. They had some good food there. It was tough to make the transition. We too are living in times that we are transitioning from one mode of living to another. It is not easy. Learning is what takes place when we integrate and make our own what we are taught which takes energy. Teaching is useless unless the content is learned, absorbed and it affects our beings. Today, parents have added a new talent to their CV's – teachers. In this season of freedom, education embraces that freedom when we all shift our mindset from teachers to lifelong learners. When our Torah, our Mitzvos transform how we think, act, and how we make decisions. Wishing you all a happy and kosher Pesach.

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