Welcome to the first taste of freedom. Nissan is here.
This month, we celebrate the start of one of our new years in the Jewish calendar. This might be surprising, but there are actually four new years. The best known, of course, is Rosh Hashanah, which marks the birthday of humanity.
But it’s this month of Nissan that G-d declared to be “the beginning of the months,” to honor the escape from Egypt. Nissan is when the Jewish people became free and started owning their own time.
Nissan is the month to start letting go of anything that holds you back — whether it’s a limiting belief, an unhealthy relationship, or a misplaced sense of obligation. Just like the Israelites leaving enslavement in Egypt, this is the moment to imagine a more spacious future.
The Hebrew name for Egypt is Mitzrayim, which literally means “narrow places.” This poetic naming emphasizes that now is time to leave behind the places that constrict our spirits. During Nissan, we burst vibrantly open and become our highest selves.
Like the buds peeking out on every tree, you too are freed to bloom anew.
Nissan’s standout moment is, of course, Passover: the most commonly observed and radically experiential holiday on the Jewish calendar, all to commemorate our ancestors' road to freedom.
On the full moon of Nissan, the Passover Seder encourages us to lose ourselves in the story of the Exodus. By reenacting the Israelites’ dramatic escape to freedom, Passover makes sure we engage all five of our senses. Why? Because on Passover, we’re meant to remember that we personally left Egypt, that we personally are still becoming free.
Through song and ritual and food and praise and even running wild through the house trying to find the Afikomen, Passover invites expansive freedom into our bodies, souls, and communities.
Judaism has a deep respect for the power of words. In fact, cruel speech meant to harm is one of the worst offenses in the Jewish tradition. It’s called lashon hara, literally “evil tongue,” and includes all gossip, lies, false testimonies, and insults.
Part of creating a freer world means finding ways to speak that heal instead of harm.
One resource is the Nonviolent Communication (NVC) method, created by Marshall Rosenberg. As a child, he was bullied for being Jewish, and he understood what a difference it makes to take care with the power of words.
NVC trains us to pay attention, listen closely to what others say, and honor the deep desire we all have to feel heard.
We also take inspiration from the story of Exodus!
Moses described himself as “heavy of mouth and heavy of tongue,” and he grew up to become the Israelites’ spokesman in their quest for freedom. He communicated powerfully and courageously on behalf of his people. His legendary oratory can guide us as we raise our own voices to challenge injustice and speak up for what we truly want.
Nissan is all about sharing stories — it’s the perfect time to speak your truth and find your authentic voice.