Shabbat Hahodesh also marks and celebrates the coming of spring. It is Sabbath closest to the beginning of the month of Nisan, the beginning of spring in Israel. It also is the month of liberation, as Pesach quickly arrives on the 14th of the month.
Interestingly, though the days we think of as the Jewish New Year come in Hebrew month of Tishre in the autumn, Nisan is the first month of the year. Rosh Hashana celebrates the creation of the world, but Nisan/Pesach celebrates the creation of our people. As our tradition teaches, if we had not gone forth from Egypt, then our people would still be slaves (even to this day) in Egypt.
In antiquity, from the first Pesach in Egypt till the destruction of the Temple, our people would begin the Pesach preparation on Rosh Hodesh (beginning of the month of) Nisan. Our tradition suggests that these preparations mark the first mitzvah (commandment) given by God to the people Israel. Indeed, they infer that the redemption was directly connected with the people’s willingness to perform mitzvot.
Though Pesach stresses God’s role in the Exodus, human action is indeed its implicit hidden message. We are the partners upon whom everything depends. God may be the hero of the haggadah, but nothing would have been possible if Moses and Aaron had not been willing to serve as God’s agents on earth. Indeed, freedom would not have been accomplished if the people had not been willing to act, and to courageously follow their leaders into the desert.
This human-divine partnership is still with us today. At the very beginning of the Seder we are called upon to open our homes, and to let “all who our hungry come and eat.” It is this mitzvah, which leads to the conclusion of the prayer, next year may all be free.” It is only our action, our work for tikkun olam (the repair of the world) that will one day bring a Pesach for all humanity.
This year as we celebrate the coming of spring, as we celebrate Pesach may we dedicate our selves to transformation. May the words that we speak at out Seders be mirrored in our actions, so that courageously like our ancestors we too can march towards the Promised Land.
Shelley and I would like to wish every one a hag Kasher Samayach.