Dear MMAE Family,

Happy Spring! This is my favorite season of the year because everything good (in my opinion) is ahead of us. Good weather. The fun times of the Summer. The gradual bloom of every flower and every tree (Ah choo!). Spring is a season that feels like youth, like hope and unrealized potential.

In Judaism, Springtime is actually the beginning of the year. Nissan, the month of Passover, is always called “the first month” in the Torah. So why do we choose to officially celebrate a formal “New Year” on Rosh Hashana?

Rosh Hashana, which takes place on the first of Tishrei (the seventh month) is exactly the midpoint of the year. It is exactly six months from the first of Nissan. If we are to celebrate TIME, then it makes sense to select the point in time that has a perfect balance of the PAST and FUTURE. Rosh Hashana, symbolized by the balanced scale (Libra), allows us to examine the past so that we can change our future.

Passover is a whole different energy. In astrology, Nissan is the month of Aries or the ram. In Greek mythology, a ram was sacrificed to Zeus, which I believe must have originated in trying to “one-up” the foundational Jewish mitzvah of sacrificing and eating a “Paschal Lamb” at the seder. “Your God gets a lamb and ours gets a ram.” But if you ask the question, “why a lamb?”, you might realize that the lamb is the perfect symbol for this time of year. Just like the year, it is new. It is through this freshness, this newness that we connect to Hashem.

It is not a time of teshuva, to return/repent. We have nothing to return to as we are at the starting line of this yearly cycle of life. Rather, it is a time of hope and faith. A time to see the world with eyes of wonder and delight, the eyes of children, the eyes of lambs. The Jewish people were “born” on Passover, the sweet taste of freedom in their mouths. As our year begins, let’s consider ourselves as new souls with energetic and unfettered spirit, free to use the coming year in any way we choose. May your Passover be a Springtime delight!

With love and gratitude, Rabbi Shapiro