The month of Nisan is the first month in the Jewish calendar, which coincides with March-April on the civil alendar. The Torah calls the month of Nisan Hodesh ha-aviv, the month of spring.
The word aviv means spring, the time when the physical and spiritual messages of rebirth meet and blossom. The word Nisan, meaning “blossoms of redemption,” is technically an Aramaic word, related to the Hebrew word nitzan, meaning bud. In “Song of Songs,” King Solomon’s epic poem symbolically refers to this as “the time that the buds were seen in our land.” Aish.com discusses how years later, buds had begun to blossom on the first of Nisan when the Jews of the Babylonian exile began their return to Israel.
As I sit here writing this, it is about 60 degrees outside, and I am outside on a very beautiful and spacious patio listening to the birds loudly chirping their songs, seeing the buds beginning to bloom and getting sun on my face and back. In this beautiful and serene setting, I especially appreciate the beauty of the season, nature and all that God has created.
This is also the time leading up to Passover, when we begin to think about or get a head start on the process of getting rid of all hametz, meaning leaven, or food mixed with leaven, in preparation for the holiday. We are spring cleaning our homes with a purpose that has its origins in biblical times.
For me, cleaning out the old is cathartic. I especially like giving away what I am no longer using since I feel I am helping others. I also feel a sense of renewal and spiritual freedom from this process.
Ruth Ross, author of “Prospering Woman,” states the prosperity law of releasing: “We must get rid of what we don’t want to make room for what we do want.” For me, in addition to cleaning, this means going through boxes that hold memories and emptying all those drawers of accumulated stuff.
What I have learned during this process of shedding and releasing is to honor my past achievements but let go of what doesn’t serve me anymore and replace it with something special that meets my current needs, so that I can move in the present flow of life.
This spring cleaning, whether for religious, spiritual or emotional health, can give us all a sense of renewal and encourage us to do our own internal housekeeping. A good way to start is to sit outside and listen and watch all that nature around you. Then go inside and start releasing the old to truly make way for the new!
PATRICIA RASKIN hosts “The Patricia Raskin Show” on Saturdays at 4 p.m. on WPRO, 630 AM/99.7 FM. Raskin is a board member of Providence’s Temple Emanu-El.