by Dr. Zev Ballen
On Wednesday of this week Rabbi Shalom Arush spoke to the members of the Kollel at the Chut Shel Chesed Yeshiva in Jerusalem. The Rav spoke about the great significance of the month of Nissan to the Jewish people and the entire world. The Rav quoted Rebbe Nachman of Breslev who wrote in Likutey Moharan that there are two months of Teshuva(repentance) in the Jewish calender - Tishrei and Nissan. In Chodesh Tishrei we do Teshuva out of fear, but in the month of Nissan we do Teshuva because we love Hashem.
All thirty days of the month of Nissan are like Yomim Tovim (holidays). On the first 12 days of the month they used to bring the sacrifices of the princes of Israel; on the 13th day of Nissan was the Isru Chag (extra holiday) for the princes. On the 14th of Nissan the Korban Pesach (Passover sacrifice) was brought in the Holy Temple. Following this were 7 days of Passover and the Isru Chag of Passover All in all Nissan is a month of many holidays.
The Rebbe wrote in Likutey Moharan that Nissan is the Rosh Hashana - the beginning of the year - for kings. This means that it will be in Nissan that Hashem will decide who all of the nations Kings will be including when our Mashiach will come. There is a side to say that The first day of Chodesh Nissan is even more important that Rosh Hashana in Tishrei. In Tishrei everyone is judged on their individual thoughts, speech and actions but in Nissan, Hashem is judging the whole world collectively.
The Rav is asking you to consider how very important the upcoming month is to the welfare of the Jewish people and to put special effort into your dovening and learning all month long. Especially on the first day of Nissan which falls on Shabbos, Parshas Vayikra - we should pray that Hashem will send us Mashiach, the true King of Israel and establish his Kingdom in Jerusalem as the leading kingdom on earth. In the event that Hashem decides that it will be better to delay the coming of Mashiach until more of the Jewish people can still gain reward for returning to Him; we should pray that He will at least send us worthy leaders who will be good for the Jewish people. Usually we do not make requests of Hashem on Shabbos, but I recall that Rav Arush wrote in his book In Forest Fields, that it is an exception if the request leads to oneg Shaboos. If the request will give you simcha and add delight to your Shabbos, Rav Arush permits it. This is certainly what the Rav means here. To participate through ones prayers in bringing the Mashiach and quickening the final redemption on Rosh Chodesh Nissan will give even the saddest Jew something joyful to look forward to - therefore Rav Arush permits it even though this year Rosh Chodesh falls on Shabbos. Thanks to Myriam Kalchstein for her question on this point.
Nissan is not only the month of the Geula (our Redemption), but Rosh Chodesh Nissan is also Rebbe Nachman’s birthday. In Breslever tradition, we hold Rebbe Nachman of Breslev as the true Tzaddik of the generation until Mashiach comes. This is what Rebbe Nachman meant when he said that his fire will burn until the coming of Moshiach. Breslever Chassidim try to visit Rebbe Nachman’s holy gravesite in Uman on Rosh Chodesh Nissan for this reason. Rav Arush and Rav Brody are probably in transit to Uman as I am writing this.
Have a wonderful Shabbos Rosh Chodesh!
Wishing you Blessings Always,
Dr. Zev Ballen