Rosh Chodesh moon
Rosh Chodesh moon: ISTOCK

“Why does my heart feel so bad?

Why does my soul feel so bad?

He’ll open doors

He’ll open doors


Dark stillness fills the night with its majestic silence and peacefulness. But the sense of calmness, of serene tranquility, mingles with its contrast. The feeling of ominous darkness, of tragedy and grief.

On the backdrop of darkness, the moon is revealed tonight in a perfect splendor of halfness. The white half is clearly visible. The dark half has disappeared from view. Was it only a week ago that a full moon was present, glowing in its radiant wholeness, a full white circle outlined in the darkness of night.

As our lives. In which joy and sorrow, hope and disaster, good and evil coexist.

I look at the luminous image of the half-moon. White against the dark blackness of night. The whiteness is tantalizing. The white of truth, of beauty, of light. Radiant in happiness, shining in the glory of its bright hopefulness.

As we, enchanted by joy, by purity of spirit and goodness.

I look again. The other half of the moon is not visible. Black upon black. Its presence apparent only because of its absence. As we who, in our sorrow, disappear from the glow, from the pulsing beauty of life.

Can we truly feel the pain of another? Or is tragedy, sadness and horror, somehow intensely personal in its darkness and anguish.

It is said, that the light of the moon is but a reflection. The source of the light is the sun. As the nature of our lives. In which quite often the reality we are experiencing is in effect a reflection of another origin.

We see clearly the view of white against black. But actually, do we know the source of the light? Do we know the source of the darkness? We see only suffering. The spiraling of violence against us, destruction, and tragedy.

We wait. For the light to enter. For a return to peace, joy, serenity.

We are approaching Rosh Chodesh Nissan.

According to the Torah, Nissan is the first month of the year. “This month shall be the head of the months for you.” (Exodus 12:2)

Nissan is also the first month of spring. The month which presents a promise of freshness and renewal.

The Aramaic word Nissan is similar to the Hebrew word ‘nitzan’, a ‘bud’.

There is a special blessing to be said if one sees blossoming fruit trees for the first time during this month. “Blessed are You….Who has made nothing lacking in His world, and created in it goodly creatures and goodly trees to give mankind pleasure.”

And now. As we approach the month of Nissan.

What is the bud that we wish to see blossom? What is the vision? What is the goal, the dream, the innermost desire? For right to vanquish wrong? For justice to pervade upon the earth?

One day the Messiah will arrive. One day, the world will be united and walk the path of justice and righteousness.

But until that day. Until that day...

As the month of Nissan approaches, would that we could sow the seeds from which peace will bud.

Would that we could align our hearts and thoughts in a worldwide cry for peace. For an end to human suffering.

“In the way that a person wants to go, he will be led.” (Makot 10b)

Nissan is the month of redemption. As in the Song of Songs: “For, lo, The winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing has come, the voice of the turtle-dove is heard in our land.” (Song of Songs 2:11-12)

It is the month in which we were redeemed from slavery. The month in which the Divine Presence rested with Israel for the first time. “And let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them.” (Exodus 25:8)

And now, as we approach the month of Nissan we pray for redemption, for peace in our world.

For this is the month of miracles. The month in which the Messiah is destined to arrive. “Rabbi Yehoshua said: In Nissan the world was created... In Nissan they (the Jewish people) were redeemed, in Nissan they will be redeemed again in the future.” (Rosh Hashanah 11a)

The month of Nissan has an otherworldly quality, in which time and its transcendence coexist. Echoing the prophecy “And there shall be one day which shall be known as the Lord’s, not day and not night; But it shall come to pass, that at evening time there shall be light.” (Zecharia 14:7)

As we approach Rosh Chodesh Nissan our gaze turns upwards.

The moon is invisible for a night or two. Deep darkness fills the sky.

And then, on Rosh Chodesh, the new moon appears in the night sky as a thin crescent.

We see but a sliver of light. Within which lies the possibility, the potential, for greater brightness and purity, for the wholeness which will surely follow.

In the darkness of night the shining moon reflects the sun’s light, and we are reminded.

Soon it will be morning. In the glow of the rising sun the world is lit, bathed in a shining pink and yellow glow. In the soft warmth of light and hope. The promise of the future, of life.

“And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.” (Isaiah 32:17)