“This month is for you the head of all months…” (Shemos 12:2) Thus began Hashem’s instruction to Moshe and Aharon…. and G-d showed Moshe how the moon appears in its stage of renewal so that he could determine the onset of a new month and ascertain the proper time for Kiddush Levana – the sanctification of the moon.
We bentch the new month of Nissan this coming Shabbos Parshas Tazria/Parshas HaChodesh. Rosh Chodesh falls on Yom Shlishi (Tuesday, April 1). And so, with the advent of Chodesh Ha’Aviv (the month of spring), we venture into a new year.
The Hebrew letters of Aviv add up to the number 15. Our redemption from Galus Mitzrayim took place on the 15th of the month; the Haggadah relates 15 Maalos Tovos (acts of kindness) Hashem bestowed on us; Dovid HaMelech composed 15 Shir HaMaalos (Songs of Ascent corresponding to the 15 steps in the Bais HaMikdash); Shlomo HaMelech was of the 15th generation; and a full moon evolves on the 15th of the Hebrew calendar month.
In our last Nissan article, we sang the praises of Miriam and Basya, two nashim tzidkaniyos who with their gutsiness and courageous acts left their imprint on the Jewish nation for all time. Miriam HaNeviah’s yahrtzeit is observed on the tenth of this month.
This month also marks the yahrtzeits of the following Tzaddikim: R’ Avraham Yehoshua Heshel of Apt – Ohev Yisroel (5 Nissan); R’ Yeshaya ben Avraham Horowitz – Shelah HaKadosh and the Ramban (11 Nissan); R’ Yosef Karo and the Tzemach Tzedek – 3rd Lubavitcher Rebbe (13 Nissan); R’ Itzikel of Skver ben R’ Mordechai of Chernobyl (17 Nissan); the Divrei Chaim of Sanz (25 Nissan); R’ Chaim Vital and R’ Yakov Amdin ben Chacham Zvi (30 Nissan).
Shlomo HaMelech’s saying in Mishlei, “Chochmas nashim bansa beisah – the wisdom of a wife can save a household” is attributed to Yocheved, the mother of Aharon, Moshe, and Miriam and has been ascribed to many an eishes chayil since.
The following incident took place in the time of the Ohev Yisroel, the Apter Rav.
Reb Mendel, a successful merchant and highly respected chassid of the Apter Rav, always came to the aid of the less fortunate without a second thought. One day an unexpected turn of the wheel of fortune began to gradually deplete Reb Mendel’s coffers. By the time his daughter became of marriageable age, he was poverty-stricken. With a heavy heart, the previously renowned baal tzeddakah paid a visit to the Apter Rav to seek his wise counsel.
The rebbe asked Reb Mendel how much he money he needed. The chassid replied that to marry off his daughter would necessitate a sum of at least a thousand ruble and he had but one ruble left to his name.
With a smile the rebbe advised Reb Mendel to take himself to the marketplace and invest his ruble in the first “deal” that would come his way. Though Reb Mendel could hardly fathom how a ruble could possibly land him a deal, his emunas tzaddikim was enough motivation to set him on his way.
He first encountered a group of diamond merchants whose impressive array of glistening stones drew the eye of Reb Mendel.
One of the group approached the obvious “window shopper” and in a deriding tone asked if he was interested in buying. Reb Mendel replied in the affirmative.
“And how much money would you be willing to spend?” questioned the merchant.
“One ruble…” answered Reb Mendel.
The merchants broke out in laughter – which emboldened the one who had engaged Reb Mendel in the first place to carry on with the mocking dialogue.