Nisan | נִיסָן

Moon of Speaking (March/April)
New Year of Kings
In Nisan we are challenged to speak the truth so we may find freedom and take responsibility for our lives.

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  • Linear Month: 7
  • Torah Month: 1
  • Season: Spring
  • Holidays: Passover
  • Offerings1: Bread Crumbs, Grain, Parsley,  Matzah, Blood/Bone, Barley, Shofar Blasts
  • Element2: Aphar (עָפָר) Earth within Ruach Air (רוּחַ)
  • Spiritual Focus3: Resources through Community
  • Netivah: Na’arah (נערה) Maiden
  • Constellation: T’leh (טלה) Aries/The Ram
  • Letter: Hei (ה)
  • Tribe: Judah (יהודה)
  • Sense: Speech
  • Tarot Card4: Emperor
  • Soul Trait5: Simcha (שמחה) Joy

Note: Letter, Tribe, and Sense are derived from the Sefer Yetzirah
See NOTES for additional information on sources of these all correspondences.

The first of Nisan is one of the four Jewish new years. It is really “the” new year, although we generally consider Rosh Hashanah to be the Jewish new year. Rosh Chodesh Nisan is the new year of Kings, which seems very appropriate considering it’s spring in much of the world and kings play big part in the story of Passover. Jewish kings are decended from the tribe of Judah, which is the tribe associated with the month of Nisan.

Most important is to remember that Nisan is the month of miracles. As points out, the word Nisan is similar to the word “Nissim” (ניסים) which means miracle. Miracles are built into this month. I think we can all use more belief in miracles, but the specific message of the need for human/Divine partnership for miracles to occur. There are very few miracles in the Torah or Talmud where a human partner is not required. Couldn’t G!d/dess have freed the Jews from Egypt without Moses, Aaron, and Miriam? I suppose so — but it didn’t happen that way. G!d/dess works through human hands more frequently than any other way. We must commit to being the hands of Shekhinah, the manifest presence of G!d/dess, in the world. We, humanity, must work to create the miracles that are waiting to happen.

This Nisan, this month of miracles, what miracle large or small will you bring into the world?

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Key Dates in Nisan

1stRosh Chodesh Nisan

New Moon

The New Year of Kings.  The reign of a king began to be counted starting from the first of Nisan.
10thMiriam haNeviah Yartzheit (traditional)
12thShabbat haGadol
14thTa’anit Bechorot – fast of the firstborns

Last day to eat Chametz – Remove it from your home
15thFull Moon

Pesach, First Seder
16thBegin prayer for dew in morning prayers

Second seder

Counting of Omer begins
22ndPesach Ends
27thYom HaShoah – modern Israeli holiday to commemorate the Holocaust.  This date was chosen because it is the Hebrew date of the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising.
Find Gregorian Calendar Dates:

Shabbat Torah/Haftarah Readings

5781Parashat Vayikra
Parashat Tzav
Pesach VII
Parashat Shmini
5782Parashat Tazria
Parashat Metzora
Pesach I
Pesach VIII
5783Parashat Tzav
Pesach III
Parashat Shmini
Parashat Tazria-Metzora
5784Parashat Tazria
Parashat Metzora
Pesach V
Parashat Achrei Mot
5785Parashat Vayikra
Parashat Tzav
Pesach VII
Parashat Shmini
For more see:
Note some months the parshiot fluctuate and in others it is always consistent.

Netivah Readings

These readings were selected by Kohenet Ketzirah HaMa’agelet to pair with the weekly Torah portions.

 Song of Songs 2:12 & 7:12; Exodus 2:4-10

Nisan is the month of the maiden and so we honor the brave, bold and beautiful young women by reading Song of Songs and passages of Miriam as a maiden.  The maiden is bold because she has not yet learned to fear or at least is still willing to take the risk.  You will find in Miriam as dares to speak to Pharoah’s sister.  You will find her with the Daughters of Tzelafchad as they make their claim to Moses for an inheritance.  And, you will find her with the dancers at Shiloh!  Her youthful exuberance is the perfect marriage of innocence, right intentions and action.

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1: Offerings & symbols were developed by Kohenet Ketzirah haMa’agelet for use as physical offering practices or in artwork.

2: Elements follow R’Jill Hammer’s elemental system as explained on her website and her book The Jewish Book of Days. See pages 16-19 for explanation of elemental system.

The interpretations of the Sephirot are also from Rabbi Jill’s teachings.  Specifically, they are from her Omer Calendar of Bibilical Women.

3: The spiritual focus is my own concept of sustainable spiritual practice.  It is based on my interpretation of the wheel of the year and the Jewish holidays, as taught by many.  The specific focus is for a season, as based on the element have/need system taught by R’Jill Hammer in the The Jewish Book of Days, as referenced above.  For example Autumn is the time of Air within Earth, we have Earth we need Air and is the spiritual focus of Community (Air) within Resources (Earth) or more simply: communal resources.  

4: While tarot is not intrinsically Jewish, it is a derivative of Kabbalah and a can be a useful tool for self discovery and exploration. Tarot correspondences here follow Kabbalistic tree of life by Issac ben Luria, the Ari, as opposed to some of the more common Christian systems.

5: The soul-traits for each month are based on Kesharim K’doshim Mussar, developed by Kohenet Ketzirah HaMa’agelet.

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