Last night, we entered the month of Nisson. Nisson is actually the first month of the year. Initially, this seems very counter-intuitive; wasn’t Rosh Hoshonoh months upon months ago?! And, indeed, it was. But unlike most calendars, the Jewish calendar doesn’t begin with the New Year. It begins several months afterwards, with the month of Nisson. Confusing, for sure, but as those around us talk about their failed resolutions and premature disappointments- of which there seem to be many- it feels refreshing to have a brand new start. And what better way to start than with the Exodus?
Most of us are familiar with the story of Peysekh (Passover), the festival which we celebrate this month through spending a month cleaning the house extensively to remove all traces of chometz (leaven), which we are forbidden to eat on the festival itself, and then holding two celebratory meals named seyderim. It’s a holiday famous for the intensity of its labour, but in fact it is more than that. It is a metaphor for the spiritual cleansing we should all undergo as we remove the chometz from our homes and prepare to celebrate freedom.
This month, as well as cleaning for chometz, let’s clean our hearts and souls as well. We should all take this oppurtunity to perform a spiritual inventory of sorts and work out what parts of our life are golus, and which parts are worth hanging on to. It’s not just our physical surroundings that need cleaning, but our spiritual ones, also. This means that we need to carefully examine our lives and the roles we play. We need to look at our relationships, our careers, our lifestyles and our emotions. Chances are, there are some things you’re not content with. Here’s your chance to change them. And as we sit down for the seyder, let’s celebrate two kinds of freedom; that from the land of Mitzrayim, and that from our personal Mitzrayim.