Nissan

We’ve already entered the month of Nissan, with Pesach less than two week away.  One of the lesser-talked-about facts about Nissan is that we refrain from saying Tachanun, a very powerful and evocative cry for Divine help which follows that Amidah (the standing prayer, also known as the Shemona Esray) the entire month.

The reasoning behind this omission is very telling.  Not only does the month contain seven days (in Israel) of Pesach, as well as the following day, Isru Chag in Israel and the eighth day of the festival everywhere else, as well as the day before, Erev Chag, which gives us nine days already that we wouldn’t say Tachanun.  In addition to that, we’re reminded that the Mishkan, the portable Temple, was dedicated at the beginning of Nissan, with each of the twelve tribes’s leaders making a special offering, one day at a time, each of these days, thus, becoming a holiday.  This brings our running total to twenty-one days we wouldn’t say Tachanun anyway, and this is before we add several days for the Shabbatot in the month.

At this point, we apply the often-used general principle of following the majority.  Since most days of the month exclude Tachanun because of their additional Kedusha, holiness, we make the entire month Kodesh, holy.  This additional holiness makes our Tachanun prayers superfluous since we’re already relating to The Creator in a much higher mode.

I’ve always been struck with the beauty of the verse that, in most liturgies, precedes the actual Tachanun psalm.  “And David said to Gad, ‘I am in deep torment.  I’ll fall into the Hand of God because His mercies are infinite.  I will not fall into the hand of man.'”

If we can become sufficiently mindful of the spiritual reality we inhabit in Nissan, we realize that we don’t need to fall into the Hand of God since, in it’s Kedusha, we’re already surrounded by It.

The next step, of course, is to bring that consciousness into the entire year, to realize that we’re always living in the Hand of God where we can always rely on His Infinite love.

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