0 Posted by - April 5, 2014 - Chagim



In the

 month of Nissan, we have a beautiful blessing: the unique blessing on the blossoming of the trees. This blessing is unique not only because it comes only once a year, but because of what it is that we are praising in this blessing.שלא חיסר בעולמו כלום וברא בו בריות טובות ואילנות טובות ליהנות בהם בני אדם Blessed are You, HaShem, our G-d King of the universe, Who has left nothing missing from His Universe and has created in it good beings and good trees through which to bring pleasure to Mankind.

This is the only blessing in which we praise G-d for giving us pleasure – ליהנות בהם בני אדם . After giving this some thought, we can realize that herein lies a deep message about life and its pleasures. In our blessings over bread or water, we do not mention that G-d gives us pleasure. These are basic needs for survival. We do not feel the same kind of pleasure in receiving our vital needs as we do in being given the “wants” we feel in life. The fact that there is fruit on a tree shows us that G-d wants us to have pleasure, to enjoy His Goodness, to recognize His love for us, and not just to get by in life with the food groups that are basic for survival. He wants us to ascend far beyond the level of existing into the much higher realm of acknowledging appreciation. The fruit trees are here in the Universe to bring color and enjoyment to life. This displays G-d’s love for us. That G-d wants us to be happy. He wants us to have our “wants”.

We might ask ourselves how it’s possible to say that having wants brings about pleasure? Are there not plenty of people in the world who have all the money they want and, even so, are living lives devoid of happiness? But this is precisely the point. The high level of happiness, the happiness that we feel when we have or we get what we want, lasts only for a few moments. After getting or seeing that we are getting our wants, the feelings and sensations of pleasure shrink to less than a minute fraction of those we experienced at the outset. In stark contrast, the blessing thanking G-d for His creations can be made only once a year, unlike many other blessings of praise that can be made every thirty days. The blessing for the trees is our expression of the happiness we have from seeing them, our first experience with fruit trees each year. How, then, is this such a great pleasure, the pleasure of getting our wants? And why is it specifically in Nissan?

The Hebrew months of the year are actually not Hebrew! In the Torah, the months are referred to through numbers: the First month (Nissan), Second month (Iyar) Third month (Sivan) …and so on. Similarly, in Hebrew, the days of the week are numbers and not names, such as Sunday and Monday… Rabbeinu Bachye (Parashat Bo) writes that the days are given numbers in relation to Shabbat, reminding us how many days we are before or after Shabbat. The Hebrew months in the Torah, also, are counted from the first month of Nissan, the month of our Redemption from Egypt. This, as well serves to remind ourselves each month of the Redemption. This is the reason why the Torah did not give names to the months.
When the Jewish Nation came up from Bavel to rebuild the Second Temple, they brought along with them names for the months. Nissan, Iyar… these names are not Hebrew names. They came from Bavel and Paras/Maday. However, there is a message behind the name Nissan.

Nissan is always the month of spring. The first month (Nissan) is referred to as the חדש האביב (month of spring) in the Torah. Spring, in Hebrew, is אביב which can be broken up into אב ×™’ ב’ father of 12 (months). The word ניסן is very similar to the word in Shir Hashirim הניצנים נראו בארץ the blossoms were seen in the land. This is the month of blossoming, and the beginning of new life – a twelve month life. All the months are lead by this month. How?

The whole winter long, a tree looks like a piece of dead wood. The appearance of a blossom tells us that there is and was life inside. It was just waiting for the proper timing to come out. This feeling of resurrection that we get from the trees each spring shows us that there is a time when a person, also, feels revival and renewal. At different times in people’s lives, they undergo change. This change is always fathered by a feeling of hope. And hope is the result of a realization that one has a choice to follow his will and grow to meet lifetime goals. That is what happened to the Jews in the month of Nissan. They were given hope and free will. That was their freedom. And that is why Nissan is the first month. That is why it is in spring.

This feeling of freedom of choice is why “wants” are just so sweet. The wants remind us of our choice. The apple on the tree is not something that we must eat for survival. It is what we want to eat. We can see and appreciate G-d through our wants and appreciate His having given us free will. And this is where all the pleasure is. It is not in the apple itself. It is not in the fancy cars and beautiful houses. After having all that, somehow the pleasure dwindles to a bare minimum. The real beauty is in the gift of choice and freedom to make it.

The Seforno says החדש ×”×–×” לכם this month is yours means that this month you are not a “slave to time”. So many people are just that: a slave to time. They are not free to do what they wish with their time. Their time does what it wants to do with them. In Nissan, we can practice our free will to serve G-d by actively choosing to want to serve Him. At times we say that we just “cannot find the time” to do things that we purport to want to do, such as praying slowly and intently and doing chesed. But in this month, we do not have to “serve time”. The person who wants to grow can find salvation in this month. Nissan ניסן is also from the word ניסים , miracles. The ability to become something that we always wanted to be, the ability to attain our spiritual desires can blossom in this month. Let it.

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