2-8 Nissan 5778
18-24 March '18
Attributes of the month of Nissan: Ruling permutation of the letters of HAVAYAH is the first in the order of permutations: YOD KEH VAV KEH, contained in the initial Hebrew letters of Yismechu Hashamayim Vetagel Ha'aretz -- "Let the heavens rejoice and the earth exult" (Psalms 96:11). The month's corresponding letter is: HEH; Human attribute: SPEECH; Body Part: RIGHT FOOT; Tribe: JUDAH; Constellation: RAM (Aries).
Sunday 18 March / 2 Nissan:
We are now in the count-down to Pesach, which begins on Friday night March 30. As we work to clean out the chametz (leavened bread etc.) from our homes and make our other preparations for the festival, let us remember to cleanse ourselves inwardly and offer our personal prayers from the heart for all we need, spiritually and materially, personally and collectively.
The first ten days of Nissan correspond to the letter Yod of the holy name A-D-N-Y "our Lord"; the four days of checking the Paschal lamb from 11-14 Nissan correspond to the Dalet; the fifty days from the first day of Pesach to the eve of Shavuot correspond to the Nun, and Shavuot itself corresponds to the Aleph, signifying our complete acceptance of the kingship of G-d through our service in this period.
Friday 23 March / 7 Nissan
On this day in the Wilderness, the Prince of the tribe of Ephraim, Elishama ben Amihud (grandfather of Joshua) brought his inaugural sacrifices to the Sanctuary.
From 7 Nissan onwards it is proper to avoid defilement from the dead where possible so as to be ritually pure to offer the Pesach sacrifice when the Temple is rebuilt.
Please spare a thought for the many who cannot afford Matzot and other Pesach needs. In this period it is customary to give Kimcha d'Pischa -- special charity to the poor to cover their "flour" (kimcha) and other Pesach needs.
Friday night-Saturday 23-24 March / 8 Nissan
Shabbat Parshat TZAV
Shabbat HaGadol, the "Great" Shabbat:
Torah reading: TZAV (Leviticus
6:1-8:36), setting forth the laws of the sacrificial rituals in the Temple.
Special Haftara for Shabbat HaGadol, the last Shabbat before Pesach: Malachi 3:4-24 prophesying G-d's coming Day of Judgment.
It is customary for the rabbi of the community to give a special Drashah (sermon) on themes relating to the coming festival of Pesach. It is also customary to read the main narrative portion of the Pesach Haggadah on Shabbat afternoon in preparation for the Pesach Seder night.
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