2018-03-14 / Religion Column

Life ain’t all sunshine and rainbows…but Nissan is here!

Nafshenu, Cherry Hill

At this point in our lives, we know that life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. As Rocky Balboa once said, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward…That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth.”

With this philosophy, one could say that Rocky was schooled in the history of Judaism. We very well know that life hasn’t been so good to the Jews. But, we are still here and continue to rise and succeed no matter what happens to us. This goes for the Jewish people as a whole, as well as for each individual soul. We all can point to some real challenges in our lives, ones where we thought we might never recover. Some of us are still going through them, trying to find the sunshine and rainbows amidst the darkness. Look no further.

Shabbat HaChodesh is here this coming Shabbat!

Shabbat HaChodesh is the Shabbat that brings in the new month of Nissan. HaChodesh means “The Month” and is the first month of the Jewish year. Yes, you might think that the first month of the Jewish New Year is Rosh Hashanah. But, the reality is that Rosh Hashanah takes place on the seventh month of the year. So what then is so special about the month of Nissan that it is the first month of the year?

Nissan is the month when we observe Passover. Nissan is connected to the Hebrew word “Nes,” which means a miracle. One of the miracles is that during this month we celebrate Passover, the redemption from slavery. It is also when we become a people, the Jewish people. In order to welcome in a new year, we must be open to the possibilities of living up to our potential. If we celebrate a New Year without being free, the New Year is simply another year of living, skating across the surface of our lives without becoming the people that we are meant to be. The Month of Passover, HaChodesh, “the month,” reminds us of freedom that is within each of us. Yes, life can hit us hard. But, Judaism teaches us to get back up and rise higher than we were before.

The S’fat Emet teaches, “Israel counts by the moon and the other nations by the sun (Sukkah 29). This is a hint that the other nations can only survive during good times and when things are bright. Once their sun begins to set, they cease to exist and disappear. Indeed, history knows of many such instances. Israel, though, continues to exist even in the most terrifying darkness. Even in such times it radiates light, like the moon.”

“Life Ain’t All Sunshine and Rainbows.” This we know. But when times are tough for us, let us radiate light, like the moon. The month of Nissan is here. Find your inner light to overcome whatever holds you back. This will make all the difference.

Happy month of Nissan! 

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