Welcome to the Month of Nissan

We will greet the new month of Nissan this coming Wednesday at sunset on March 25th and Thursday March 26th. The month of Nissan is called the "Chodesh Ha'Aviv" the month of Spring. The spring air makes us aware of the new life emerging in nature and reminds us to also pay attention to the new energies stirring within us, including an influx of grace and compassion in this month. This is a challenging and scary time for most of us, so it is good to know that the month of Nissan is known for its miracles and compassion. The Jews were redeemed from bondage in the month of Nissan after witnessing plagues and it is predicted that the final redemption will also take place in Nissan. May we see miracles this month of Nissan.

During Nissan we celebrate Passover, which is the celebration of the miraculous departure of the Jewish people from the bondage of Egypt. Prior to the exodus, the Jewish people witnessed ten awesome plagues. With every plague, physical reality as they knew it crumbled before their eyes but each plague also brought forth a deeper faith and revelation of Godliness. Today, many feel that we are enduring a plague of biblical proportions. In a very short amount of time, our reality has dramatically shifted. Many of the anchors that have defined our lives are not available to us now. We sit in quarantine and reminiscent of the Jews in ancient Egypt who sat in their homes before their departure in the middle of the night. Similarly, we are praying that this virus will pass over us and miraculously celebrate Passover in a new and more meaningful way than ever before.

Paradoxically, we express our love by practicing social distancing and quarantining to delay the spread of this virus. This virus is uniting us and making us increasingly aware of how important each person is to the well-being of the community. If we can be carriers of illness to others, we can and must also be carriers of healing as well. Whether we are in a quarantine or not, this is a time to turn to God through prayer, meditation and doing good deeds. Therein lies our protection. It does not matter where we are physically. What's important is what is taking place within us and in our relationship with God. We can only do our part to protect ourselves and others and then we have to let go and connect to the True power. Letting go and trusting God is easier said than done. Prayer, meditation, Torah learning can help us to relax, feel connected and protected.

The healing dimension for this month is speech. It is through our own words that we redeem or enslave ourselves. Words are very important in Judaism. Make a strong effort particularly this month to increase virtuous speech, and eliminate loathsome and forbidden speech this month. Remember you have the right to limit what you hear from others as well. Words of prayer, words of blessing, and words of love are the best words we can say today. We need to remember that we do not have to listen to loshon hara or loathsome speech. We can simply inform the other person of this and direct the conversation to a higher plane. Note how your energy increases when you engage in virtuous speech and decreases when you engage in loathsome speech. When we speak loshon hara, even if we believe it to be true but it does not serve a holy purpose, it will backfire and we will bear negative consequences. Let our speech bring us together. Make a conscious effort to refrain from blaming or criticizing others, our politicians, or even oneself.

Ask yourself "What does my soul want and need to shine more brightly in the world?" "What does God want of me?" Listen for guidance, and then let's begin to act in large and small ways that are in alignment with our inner knowing. This time is one of great introspection and self reckoning. You may become more aware of the choices between the higher knowing of the soul and the needs and desires of the ego mind. Make an effort and pray for the strength to choose what your higher self, your soul, and God would want you to do and not what your limited fearful ego-mind wants.

Just as the Jewish people called out to God when the slavery they experienced in Egypt became too intense, we call out to God when we feel the call within ourselves for a new way. For many of us, it is when we truly feel the heavy toll that limitations and challenges have placed upon us that we are ready to move away from what is familiar. Nissan is the time to go forward, to be open to the new.

Many times, people are unhappy repeating old patterns in their lives, but they hold on to what is familiar because that makes them feel safe. But in truth, holding on to something that is toxic, that is limiting, does not offer real security, but only the illusion of security. Being open to new possibilities within ourselves takes letting go of limiting ways we have defined ourselves. It takes the willingness to be vulnerable. Being vulnerable before God may be the safest place to be. There will be many wonderful spiritual gifts from the challenge we are now facing.

May we let go of limiting false beliefs about ourselves, and others during this month of Nissan. I pray that you and everyone emerges stronger, more loving and more empowered after we pass through this challenge. May we find greater trust and faith this month and take meaningful steps to greater freedom in our lives.

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