Rosh Chodesh Nisan 5780 (Copy)
(ב) הַחֹ֧דֶשׁ הַזֶּ֛ה לָכֶ֖ם רֹ֣אשׁ חֳדָשִׁ֑ים רִאשׁ֥וֹן הוּא֙ לָכֶ֔ם לְחָדְשֵׁ֖י הַשָּׁנָֽה׃
(2) This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months; it shall be the first of the months of the year for you.

(א) בראשית. אָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק לֹֹֹֹֹא הָיָה צָרִיךְ לְהַתְחִיל אֶת הַתּוֹרָה אֶלָּא מֵהַחֹדֶשׁ הַזֶּה לָכֶם, שֶׁהִיא מִצְוָה רִאשׁוֹנָה שֶׁנִּצְטַוּוּ בָּהּ יִשׂרָאֵל, וּמַה טַּעַם פָּתַח בִּבְרֵאשִׁית?

(1) בראשית IN THE BEGINNING — Rabbi Isaac said: The Torah which is the Law book of Israel should have commenced with the verse (Exodus 12:2) “This month shall be unto you the first of the months” which is the first commandment given to Israel. What is the reason, then, that it commences with the account of the Creation?

(א) החדש הזה לכם ראש חדשים מכאן ואילך יהיו החדשים שלכם, לעשות בהם כרצונכם, אבל בימי השעבוד לא היו ימיכם שלכם, אבל היו לעבודת אחרים ורצונם, לפיכך ראשון הוא לכם לחדשי השנה. כי בו התחיל מציאותכם הבחיריי:
(1) החודש הזה לכם ראש חדשים, from now on these months will be yours, to do with as you like. [you have My authority to organise your own calendar. Ed.] This is by way of contrast to the years when you were enslaved when you had no control over your time or timetable at all. [Freedom, i.e. retirement from the “rat race,” means being able to formulate one’s own timetable. Ed.] While you were enslaved, your days, hours, minutes even, were always at the beck and call of your taskmasters.

(א)הַחֹדֶֹש הַזֶּה לָכֶם. רַבִּי יִשְׁמָעֵאל אוֹמֵר: הֶרְאָה לוֹ הַיָּרֵחַ בַּלַּיְלָה וְאָמַר לוֹ: כָּזֶה אַתֶּם רוֹאִים וְקוֹבְעִים כֵּן הֲלָכָה לְדוֹרוֹת. וְלִמֵּד לָהֶם מוֹלַד לְבָנָה וְאָמַר לָהֶם: עַד עַכְשָׁו אֲנִי הָיִיתִי מְעַבֵּר אֶת הַשָּׁנִים, וַהֲרֵי כְּבָר מָסַרְתִּי לָכֶם, מֵעַכְשָׁו הַתְחִילוּ לִמְנוֹת. הַחֹדֶשׁ הַזֶּה, זֶה נִיסָן וְאֵין אַחֵר נִיסָן. מִדְּתִשְׁרֵי כְּתִיב בּוֹ (שמות לד, כב) חַג הָאָסִיף תְּקוּפַת, לְלַמֶּדְךָ, חֹדֶשׁ שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ חַג וְקָרוּי אָסִיף. וּתְקוּפַת הַשָּׁנָה, שֶׁשָּׁנָה יוֹצְאָה בּוֹ וְקָרוּי שְׁבִיעִי, זֶה תִּשְׁרֵי שֶׁהוּא שְׁבִיעִי לְנִיסָן. הַחֹדֶשׁ הַזֶּה, זֶה נִיסָן. זֵכֶר לַדָּבָר, בַּחֹדֶשׁ הָרִאשׁוֹן הוּא חֹדֶשׁ נִיסָן (אסתר ג, ז), וְהוּא רֹאשׁ חֳדָשִׁים וְרֹאשׁ לָרְגָלִים, דִּכְתִיב בַּתְּחִלָּה: חַג הַמַּצּוֹת וְחַג הַשָּׁבֻעוֹת וְחַג הַסֻּכּוֹת (דברים טז, טז).

(1) This month shall be unto you (Exod. 12:1). R. Ishmael said: He showed him the moon during night and said: Like this shall you examine the new moon; this shall be the law for future generations. Teach them the time of the new moon. He said to them: Until now I intercalated the year (adding an additional month in leap years), but now I turn this responsibility over to you. From now on you shall count (the days and designate the time) for the appearance of the new moon. This month. This is Nisan, and there is no other (i.e., no intercalated second Nisan to sere as the first month). With regard to Tishri it is written: And the feast of ingathering (Sukkot) at the turn of the year (the autumnal equinox) (Exod. 34:22). This teaches us that the month in which the festival called the feast of the ingathering at the turn of the year occurs is the month in which the year actually changes. However, Tishri is called the seventh month only because it comes seven months after Nisan. This month refers to Nisan. A hint of this (is the fact that it is the only month that is spoken of as the first month),7Nisan begins the secular year and therefore is counted as the first month. It marks the anniversary of the deliverance from Egyptian bondage. It is the month in which the reigns of kings begin, and the month from which the festivals are instituted. as Scripture states: In the first month, which is the month of Nisan (Est. 3:17), first for months, and first for festivals, since (Passover) is written first: The festival of Passover, the festival of Shavuot, the festival of Sukkot.