Nisan: Simcha (שמחה) Joy

Nisan is the Moon of Speaking (March/April)
Nisan is one of four New Years on the Jewish calendar – the New Year of Kings – we are challenged to speak the truth so we may find freedom and take responsibility for our lives.

Middah & Netivah

  • Simcha (שמחה) Joy
  • Na’arah (נערה) Maiden


  • Zerizut (זריזות) Zeal/Enthusiasm
  • Mechilah (מחילה) Forgiveness
  • Yetziratiut (יצירתיות) Creativity


  • Tishrei (September/October)
  • Achryaut (אחריות) Responsibility
  • G’virah (גבירה) Queen/Matriarch

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Simcha (שמחה) Joy

NOTE: Nisan is incomplete due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, which was in the early days at this time in 5780/2020. The intent is to update this and fill in any gaps in future years.

Nisan is one of the Four Jewish New Years. It is the New Year of Kings. I call it the Moon of Speaking — because it is the month of Passover, where pretty much all Jews speak out against slavery and oppression through the ritual of Passover. ⁠

It’s the month where we claim our own sovereignty, and historically the month that any king’s reign was counted as beginning or continuing.⁠ ⁠

It’s also the month where we work with the soul trait of Simcha (שמחה) Joy, in the Kesharim K’doshim approach to Mussar that aligns the wheel of the year with the Wheel of the Year and the Netivot from Kohenet teachings.⁠ ⁠

The Hebrew word for joy most used in mussar is simcha (שמחה). There are at least five other words that for joy, so as always it’s interesting to see what details of the words were or weren’t chosen. 
One of the things this tells us is how important joy is to Judaism.  Not sure that’s something people immediately think about with Jewish practice — but joy is central and deeply important. 

In 5780, it’s also the beginning of the 3rd week of COVID-19 lock down for many, many, many of us. So I’m both deeply challenged and grateful that Simcha (שמחה) Joy is the soul trait to work on this month.⁠ ⁠ In addition, we’re two weeks from having to decide – are you ready for freedom – and the responsibility that it brings? Because it’s two weeks until Pesach. Every year we have to reclaim our freedom and acknowledge that until all people are free – no one is free.⁠

I don’t know about you — but my Pesach planning conversations are really spiritually and logistically complex this year.⁠


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At this moment in time…

  • WHAT does Simcha (שמחה) Joy mean to you?
  • HOW do you differentiate between joy and happiness?
  • WHEN are you most aware of joy?
  • WHERE in your body does joy reside? 

Text Study

  • Sarah said: “The Almighty has made joy for me; whoever hears of it will rejoice for me.” (Genesis 21:6)
  • You turned my lament into dancing, you undid my sackcloth and girded me with joy, that [my] whole being might sing hymns to You endlessly; O LORD my God, I will praise You forever. (Psalm 30:12-13)
  • Better even than the pursuit of wisdom is the bringing of joy. Wisdom can bring you to the knowledge of God; joy brings you into the presence of God. (Rami Shapiro commentary on Pirkei Avot 3:13 in Ethics of the Sages, Pirkei Avot 3:10 on
  • I have had to learn to cultivate joy, to generate and extend trust, to be still, to focus my attention on what brings me ease, to give myself permission to experience beauty and love. that shouldn’t be past tense, as it’s all daily practice. (Adrienne Maree Brown)


  • Discover the Divine Presence Within.
  • Fearlessly Delight in the Sweetness of Life.
  • Channel the Life-force in its Blooming.

from the Eht/Aht: a netivot wisdom oracle

Embodied Practice

  • Put on a playlist and dance like no one and everyone is watching.
  • Explore dancing to the music of your youth and/or the youth of today.


  • Welcome everyone you meet with a smile and a kind word, before they greet you.
  • Throw a party just because – just for yourself or invite others.

Soul Trait Studio

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