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Subject: Passover, Hebrew calendar, Jewish holidays, Liturgical year, Tishrei
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Adar       Nisan (נִיסָן)       Iyar
Tu Bishvat

Passover, the Festival of the Unleavened Bread,
begins on the 15th of Nisan and commemorates
the Jews' liberation from Egyptian slavery.
Month Number: 1
Number of Days: 30
Season: spring
Gregorian Equivalent: March–April

Nisan (or Nissan) (Hebrew: נִיסָן‎, Standard Nisan Tiberian Nîsān) on the Assyrian calendar is the first month and on the Hebrew calendar is the first month of the ecclesiastical year and the seventh month (eighth, in leap year) of the civil year. The name of the month is Babylonian; in the Torah it is called the month of the Aviv, referring to the month in which barley was ripe. Assyrians refer to the month as the "month of happiness." It is a spring month of 30 days. Nisan usually falls in March–April on the Gregorian calendar. In the Book of Esther in the Tanakh it is referred to as Nisan.

Holidays and observances

  • 1 Nisan - Kha b-Nisan - the first day of the Assyrian New Year
  • 14 NisanFast of the Firstborn – on 12 Nisan when the 14th falls on Sabbath
  • 15-21 NisanPassover – also 22 Nisan outside of Israel
  • 26 Nisan - traditional yahrzeit of Joshua[1]
  • 27 NisanYom HaShoah – on 26 Nisan or 28 Nisan when the 27th falls on Friday or Sunday respectively, interfering with Shabbat

In Jewish history

1 Nisan – (3761 BCE) – Creation of the Universe (according to some opinions)

  • The Talmud (Rosh Hashanah 10b-11a) gives two opinions as to the date of God's creation of the universe. According to Rabbi Eliezer, "The world was created in Tishrei," that is the sixth day of creation, which is the day of which Adam and Eve were created, was the 1st of Tishrei, celebrated each year as Rosh Hashanah. According to Rabbi Joshua, "The world was created in Nisan."According to the Kabbalists and Chassidism, the world was first created in the "realm of thought" or in "embryonic state" in Tishrei, and came to the contemporary stable state of the "realm of action" in Nisan, possibly not until the time of the Exodus. Menachem Nachum Twersky of Chernobyl wrote that the pre-Exodus world was considered "nonexistent" due to its originally unstable chaotic state. The last Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, and some other Jewish mystics believed differently, that is, the physical world was created in Tishrei, while the "supernal idea" of creation had emerged earlier, in the month of Nisan.

1 Nisan – (2100–1800 BC approx) – Patriarchs died

  • According to the Talmud, the three Patriarchs of the Jewish people – Abraham (1813–1638 BCE), Isaac (1713–1533 BCE) and Jacob (1653–1506 BCE) – all were born and died in the month of Nisan.

1 Nisan – (1456 BC) – First mitzvah; "Head of Months"

  • On the first of Nisan of the Hebrew year 2448 (1456 BC, two weeks before the Exodus), according to the Book of Exodus 12:1-2, "God spoke to Moses and to Aaron in the land of Egypt" instructing them regarding the setting of the Jewish calendar and that "this month shall be for you the head of months, the first of the months of the year." This is regarded as the first mitzvah (divine commandment) given to the Children of Israel. On that occasion God also commanded them regarding the Passover offering and the various observances of the festival of Passover.

1 Nisan – (1455 BC) – Mishkan inaugurated

  • On the eighth day following a 7-day training and initiation period, the portable Mishkan ("Tabernacle" or "Sanctuary") built by the Children of Israel in the Sinai desert was erected, Aaron and his sons began serving as priests, and Godly presence is said to have come to dwell in the Mishkan, special offerings were brought, which included a series of gifts by Nachshon ben Aminadav, the Prince of the Tribe of Judah (similar offerings were brought over the next 12 days by the other tribes of Israel).

1 Nisan – (1455 BC) – Death of Nadav and Avihu

  • On the day the Mishkan was inaugurated (see above), according to Leviticus 10:1-2, "Nadav and Avihu, the sons of Aaron, took each of them his censer, and put fire in it, and put incense on it, and offered strange fire before God, which He commanded them not. A fire went out from God, and consumed them, and they died before God."

1 Nisan – (1772) - Birth of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov

  • Rabbi Nachman was the grandson of the Baal Shem Tov and the founder of the Breslov School of Hassidism.

1 Nisan – (1892) – Death of Rabbi Elimelech Szapira of Grodzhisk

2 Nisan – (1920) – Death of the Rashab

3 Nisan – (1492) – Expulsion of Spanish Jews

  • The Alhambra Decree (also known as the Edict of Expulsion) was an edict issued on 31 March 1492 by the joint Catholic Monarchs of Spain (Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon) ordering the expulsion of Jews from the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon (but not from the Kingdom of Navarre) and its territories and possessions by 31 July of that year.

7 Nisan – (1416 BC) – Spies in Jericho

  • Thirty days after the death of Moses on Adar 7, Joshua dispatched two scouts across the Jordan River to Jericho, to gather intelligence in preparation of the Israelites' battle with the first city in their conquest of the Holy Land. In Jericho, they were assisted and hidden by Rahab, a woman who lived inside the city walls.

10 Nisan – (1417 BC) – Miriam's Death

  • Miriam, the sister of Moses, is said to have died at the age of 126 on the 10th of Nisan of the Hebrew year 2487 (1274 BCE), 39 years after the Exodus and exactly one year before the Children of Israel entered the Holy Land. It is in deference to her death that the "Great Shabbat" is commemorated on the Shabbat before Passover rather than the calendar date of the miracle's occurrence, Nisan 10.

10 Nisan – (1416 BC) – Israelites cross Jordan

11 Nisan – (1270) – Death of Nachmanides

13 Nisan – (474 BC) – Haman's decree

  • In the 12th year of his reign (523 BCE), King Achashverosh of Persia endorsed Haman's plan "to destroy, kill and annihilate all Jews, from young to old, infants and women, on a single day, on the 13th day of the 12th month, the month of Adar." On Nisan 13 (11 months before the date chosen for the massacre) proclamations of the decree were drafted and dispatched to all 127 countries of the Persian Empire. Mordechai told Esther to go before the king and plead for her people. Esther asked that a three-day fast be proclaimed (Nisan 14, 15 and 16, including the first two days of Passover) in which all Jews would repent and pray for the success of her mission

13 Nisan – (1575) – Death of Rabbi Joseph Caro

13 Nisan – (1866) – Death of Tzemach Tzedek

14 Nisan – (1135) – Maimonides born

15 Nisan – (1713 BCE) – Isaac born

  • According to the Book of Genesis 21:1-6, "God remembered Sarah as He had said, and God did to Sarah as He had spoken. And Sarah conceived, and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him... Abraham was a hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah declared: 'God has made laughter for me, so that all that hear will laugh ('yitzchak') with me."

15 Nisan – (1456 BC) – The Exodus

  • At midnight of Nisan 15 of the Hebrew year 2448 (1313 BCE), which 210 years after Jacob settled in Egypt and 430 years after the "Covenant Between the Parts," God is said to have visited the last of the ten plagues on the Egyptians, killing all their firstborn. Earlier that evening, the Israelites conducted the first "seder" of history, eating the roasted meat of the Passover offering with matzot and bitter herbs, and sprinkling the blood of the sacrifice on their doorposts as a sign that God will "pass over" their homes when inflicting the plague upon the Egyptians. Pharaoh's resistance to free them was broken, and he chased his former slaves out of the land. Several million people, 600,000 adult males, not including woman and children, and a large "mixed multitude" of non-Hebrews who joined them to leave Egypt on that day, and began the 50-day trek to Sinai awaiting the promised land.

16 Nisan – (1273 BCE) – Manna ends

  • On the 16th of Nisan of the Hebrew year 2488 (1273 BCE), six days after the Children of Israel entered the Holy Land under the leadership of Joshua, their remaining supply of the miraculous "bread from heaven," which had sustained them since shortly after their exodus from Egypt 40 years earlier, ran out. (The manna had ceased falling on the previous Adar 7, the day of Moses' death.) After bringing the "Omer" offering at the Sanctuary they erected at Gilgal, the people prepared their (unleavened) bread for the first time from the produce of the land.

16 Nisan – (474 BC) – Esther appears before Achashverosh

  • On the 3rd day of the fast proclaimed by Mordechai at her behest (see above, Nisan 13), Queen Esther appeared unsummoned before King Achashverosh, which is a capital offence itself. The king, however, extended the royal sceptre to her, signifying his consent that she approach him. Esther requested that Achashverosh attend a private wine party with her and Haman (according to one opinion in the Talmud, her plan was to make Achashverosh jealous of her apparent friendship with Haman so that he would kill them both, thus saving the Jewish people from Haman's decree).

17 Nisan – (24th Century BC) – Noah's Ark came to rest on mountains of Ararat

  • On the 17th day of the 7th month(Nisan before Torah, Genesis 8:4, Exodus 12:1) Noah's ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.

17 Nisan – (474 BC) – Haman Hanged

  • At the 2nd wine party she made for King Achashverosh and Haman, Queen Esther revealed her identity to the king and began to plead for her people, pointing to Haman as the evil schemer plotting to destroy them. When Charvonah, a royal servant, mentioned the gallows which Haman had prepared for Mordechai, the king ordered that Haman be hanged on them, opening the door for the Jews' salvation from Haman's decree (Book of Esther, chapter 7).
  • Seven days after the Exodus, the Israelites were trapped between the Egyptian army and cavalry pursuing them from behind and the waters of the Red Sea in front of them. All that night, a pillar of fire intervened between the Egyptians and the Israelites, and at daybreak, according the Bible, God commanded Moses: "Speak to the Children of Israel, that they should move forward!" Nachshon ben Aminadav of the tribe of Judah was the first to jump into the sea; the water split, and "the children of Israel walked across on the dry land in the midst of the sea". When the Egyptians followed, the waters returned to their natural state and place and drowned them. The Children of Israel sang the "Song at the Sea" in praise and gratitude to God.

26 Nisan – (1386 BC) – Death of Joshua

27 Nisan – (1943) – Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

  • In the summer of 1942, about 300,000 Jews were deported from Jews. The Jewish resistance lasted 27 days. A heroic stand was made in an underground bunker under 18 Mila Street, where hundreds of fighters, including the 24-year-old leader of the uprising, Mordechaj Anielewicz, met their death. Although the Ghetto was burned to the ground by Iyar 3, a few stray survivors hid in the rubble and fired at the Nazis for two months longer. In tribute to the uprising, the Israeli government designated the 27th of Nisan as its official "Holocaust and Bravery Day," and in many Jewish communities the day is observed as an annual Holocaust remembrance day. But because of the halachic prohibition to conduct eulogies and other mournful events in the festive month of Nisan, the chief rabbinate of Israel, and many Jewish communities, observe instead the 10th of Tevet as a day to mourn and remember the six million, which include many whose yahrtzeit (date of death) remains unknown.

28 Nisan – (1415 BC) – Conquest of Jericho

  • The first city to fall to the Children of Israel in their conquest of the Promised Land was the fortified city of Jericho. For seven days, the Isaraelites marched around the city walls carrying the Holy Ark, proceeded by kohanim sounding the Shofar (Ram's horn). On the 7th day, the walls crumbled and the city was conquered. This is according to the Book of Joshua ch. 6).

29 Nisan – (1620) – Death of Rabbi Chaim Vital

  • Nisan 29 is the yahrtzeit (anniversary of the death) of the Kabbalist Rabbi Chaim Vital (c. 1542-1620), author of the mystical work Eitz Chaim. Rabbi Chaim was a disciple of Rabbi Isaac Luria (the "Holy Ari," 1534–1572) and the transcriber of his teachings, which form the "Lurianic" Kabbalah.
  • In Bamberg, Germany during a commercial crisis in 1699, the populace rose up against the Jews, and one Jew saved himself by throwing prunes from a gable-window down upon the mob. That event, the 29th of Nisan, called "Zwetschgen-Ta'anit" (Prune-Fast), was commemorated by a fast and a Purim festivity until the extermination of the Jewish community there.[2]

Other uses


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Bamberg". Jewish Encyclopedia. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  • This Month in Jewish History

External links

  • Resources on the Month of Nisan
  • Jewish Encyclopedia: Nisan
  • Strong's Concordance: Nisan
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