Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Rosh Chodesh Nissan

Rosh Chodesh Nissan marks the beginning of the first month of the Jewish year. While we tend to think of Tishrei as being the first month of the year, the Torah actually gives this honor to Nissan. Thus Rosh Chodesh Nissan is actually a Rosh Hashanah. According to the Mishna, it is the day on which the reign of a Jewish king officially begins.

It also marks the final countdown to Pesach. We recite the daily Parshat ha-Nasi, a section of the Torah which mentions the gifts each tribal leader brought to inaugurate the Mishkan, an event that took place during this time. One tribe is the focus of each day's reading, ending in the lighting of the Manorah by Aaron on the 13th of Nissan In some communities the daily reading is done publicly from a Torah-scroll.

We also refrain from saying Tachenun, a daily series of supplicational prayers, during the whole month of Nissan.

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