By Chaim Barzel
“God said to Moshe and Aharon in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months; it shall be the first of the months of the year for you.” (Exodus 12:1-2)
This first month of the Hebrew calendar is now known as Nisan (נִיסָן), the name adopted during the Babylonian exile. In the Bible, it is called “the month of Aviv.”
“Aviv,” the Hebrew word for spring, is the Biblical Hebrew name for barley when it is fully ripe and green, first mentioned in Exodus 9:31. Walk through Israeli barley fields this month and you will see why.
Nisan is beloved by the People of Israel because it is the month in which the Exodus from Egypt took place, as it says:
“You are going free on this day, in the month of the Aviv.” (Exodus 13:4)
We commemoreate this event every year during the festival of Passover in the month of Nisan.
This begs the question: Why did God choose this month of Aviv/Nisan as the month of redemption? Not only did God redeem the Jewish people from Egypt in this month, but, according to Jewish tradition, the final redemption will also take place in Nisan, why?
Aviv/Nisan is the first month of spring, when the natural world comes back to life. Today, we notice this mainly from the buds and leaves sprouting on local trees. But farmers in biblical times would see spring’s arrival from the fat, green barley ears in their fields. And just like God renews and reenergizes the physical world during this month, He does the same for the spiritual dimension of life as well.
For the People of Israel, there has been no greater spiritual refresher than the Exodus from Egypt. The world had never before, nor has it since, seen such an event.
Imagine witnessing ten supernatural plagues destroying the mightiest kingdom in the world!
Imagine millions of former slaves, all from one family, leaving their host country with unbelievable wealth. And in broad daylight!
The Jewish people were finally free to worship the One God, to receive God’s word on Mount Sinai, and to return to God’s land of Israel. This was the birth of a nation that would turn a world sunk in idolatry into a world of God-consciousness and Divine morality. It was springtime in God’s world!
But the job had only begun. After many ups and downs over the millennia, the People of Israel are miraculously back in their land. But while much of the world is now worshiping the One and Only God, there is still tremendous spiritual darkness in the world.
Just like in Egypt, our world will become so cold and dark that many will give up hope for redemption. It will be another spiritual winter.
But in the end, God will fulfill his promises. Once again Nisan, the start of the spring, will bring the spiritual renewal and rebirth of the Jewish people in the form of the final redemption.
Will it be this year? Next year? In several decades? We don’t know, but we have faith that it will come.
Until then, tap into the spiritual power of the month of Nisan – enjoy the freedom to worship God, to express your faith and to live your life to the fullest, and anticipate God’s biblical promises that the world will be redeemed.
“And God shall be king over all the earth; in that day there shall be one God with one name.” (Zechariah 14:9)