A Monthly Matter

Adar (2) 29, 5782
April 1, 2022
Candlelighting Time 7:06 PM

            This Shabbos begins the month of Nissan. It is referred to as the first month of the year although the actual year starts with Tishrei with the Yomim Tovim of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Succos. So why then is Nissan called the first month of the year? Actually, to be more precise it is called the first of the months of the year. Chasam Sofer explains that this month triggered the revelation of Hashem on Mt. Sinai and our subsequent acceptance of the mitzvos of the Torah. And the catalyst for all that was the Pesach offering. Of course, this requires an extensive expose to fully grasp the significance of this month and the importance of the Pesach sacrifice.

            However, it is clear from the Chasam Sofer that the entire scope of our elevated status that we merited upon our exodus from Egypt was encompassed by the special sacrifice that they brought on Pesach. How is it possible that the majestic scene of Mt. Sinai was already ‘envisioned’ when they brought the Pesach offering?

            Meshech Chochma explains that whenever we drew a distinction between idol worship and serving the true Creator of the world, a Passover sacrifice was offered. The underlying theme of Hashem’s display of His power in Egypt was also that Hashem is focused on benefiting His people and punishing those who audaciously attack us. Therefore, the entire Egyptian empire was annihilated and we, the former slaves, marched out of
Egypt as a free people prepared to receive the Torah on Mt. Sinai. Those who subscribe to idol worship staunchly believe that there was a Creator of the Universe but subsequently He ignored His creations. However, as we witnessed in Egypt, Hashem is intensively fixated on our well-being. Therefore, certainly part and parcel of that theme if not its ultimate objective was His appearance at Mt. Sinai and our reception of the Torah. Without that critical benchmark that guides us every step of the way, we would not have the capacity to properly submit ourselves to Hashem’s will.

            In Egypt, we were commanded to bring the Passover sacrifice. We sprinkled the blood on the doorposts and the lintel. Hashem ‘saw’ the blood and therefore those houses were protected from the raging punishment that was meted out to our Egyptian adversaries. Rashi cites the Midrash that Hashem witnessed our dedication and commitment to perform His mitzvos and therefore we were saved. The fundamental point was that we recognized Hashem’s extremely compassionate attentiveness to our needs and situation and therefore we were motivated to respond in kind and totally immerse ourselves in His directives!

            Malbim adds that the Torah is also hinting to the ‘blood’ that Yitzchok was prepared to shed as a sacrifice when Hashem commanded Avrohom to offer him on the altar., That acute expression of the total dedication to perform Hashem’s will was a standard that we inherited from the Patriarchs and continue until this very day. Our enthusiasm and alacrity demonstrate our keen perception of Hashem’s relationship to us and how we can reciprocate and display our complete and pure affiliation with Hashem to its fullest extent.            


The Torah exhorts us to distance ourselves from becoming defiled. The language employed indicates that when we fulfill this mandate we are crowned. If even in this world replete with its endangerment of degradation and ignominy we can successfully rise to the occasion and purify ourselves, then we truly deserve a crown of glory.                                                                                               S’FAS EMES