Israel Forever

For the week ending 9 April 2011 / 4 Nisan 5771

Month of Miracles

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Rosh Chodashim– the head of the months – is the special title which the Creator gave to the Month of Nisan.

This honor was accorded to Nisan because it was in that month that our ancestors were freed from Egyptian bondage. This was so important an event in the history of the world that when G-d introduced Himself to His chosen people at Sinai, He did not identify Himself as the Creator of the universe, but as the liberator from the house of bondage in the land of Egypt.

But is this more important than Creation?

The obvious answer is that although we have absolute faith that G-d created the world, a belief solidly rooted in logic as well, there were no witnesses to this event. Millions of our ancestors, however, were front-line witnesses to all the miracles that took place in Egypt. Even if news of the ten plagues did not reach the rest of the world, the splitting of the sea was felt everywhere.

The miracles of Nisan itself served as a fitting climax to the miracles of the plagues. On the tenth day of that month our ancestors tied sheep, worshipped by the Egyptians, to their beds in preparation for slaughtering them as sacrifices on the eve of their departure. The miracle of the inability of their outraged masters to halt them is celebrated each year as Shabbat Hagadol. Then came the sacrifices on the fourteenth of the month, the departure the next day in broad daylight from a land from which no slave had ever escaped, and the splitting of the sea a week later. We relate and relive all of these events as we read the Haggadah at the Seder table in fulfillment of the Talmudic dictate that we must imagine as if we ourselves experienced the Exodus.

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