New Year?

Shabbat Kodesh Parashat Vayakhel-Pekude

This week is Shabbat Mevarchin Chodesh Nissan : 

  ויאמֶר ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֣ה וְאֶֽל־אַהֲרֹ֔ן בְּאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרַ֖יִם לֵאמֹֽר׃  

  הַחֹ֧דֶשׁ הַזֶּ֛ה לָכֶ֖ם רֹ֣אשׁ חֳדָשִׁ֑ים רִאשׁ֥וֹן הוּא֙ לָכֶ֔ם לְחָדְשֵׁ֖י הַשָּׁנָֽה׃  

 G-d said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt:

This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months; it shall be the first of the months of the year for you.   

This was the first Mitzvah given to us as a nation. For the last 3300 years or so, our first month of each year is Nissan. 

Would it not be more appropriate to “start” a new calendar from the month in which we have received the Torah (Sivan), when we started to be “officially” a Jewish nation?

Perhaps – it is an indication as to how important freedom is in the context of (us as) a nation. The first verse starts by expressly stating that it was said “in the land of Egypt ”.As if to emphasize the connection between this “new ” monthly calendar, to the fact that they were exiting Egypt on that month. Freedom was and still is the strongest precondition for people to become a nation, and to be able to receive, digest, study and keep the full code of conduct involving the 613 Mitzvot.  

 Indeed, the second phase of freedom, entering the land of Israel happened (forty years later) also during the month of Nissan. 

And so, to this date we begin our monthly cycle from the first of Nissan. 

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh tov

Rabbi Chaim Michael Biberfeld