The Talmud teaches us in Tracate Brachot (43B)
Rabbi Yehudah said. “A person who goes out in the month of Nissan and sees the Trees bloom, should recites the blessing “Blessed are You who did not leave anything lacking in this world, created a good creations and wonderful trees for humans to benefit from. “
This is the beautiful blessing that we recite in the opening days of spring. As we begin the season of blossoming trees, we recite the benediction known as Birchat Ha’ Ilanot.
But if the message of the text were specifically for us to appreciate the new blooms, why doesn’t it say “when one goes out ‘in the spring’”? Why does it specifically mention a person who goes out “in the month of Nisan”?
Perhaps the text is sharing with us what it means to be a student of history, and more precisely, a student of Jewish History.
When one goes out in the beginning of spring, they may see beautiful flowers about to sprout, or trees soon to blossom. They likely will observe the beginnings of grass that is about to grow, or the first buds in a raised garden. All of these, of course, are signs of the season of Aviv – Spring.
However if one looks outside using the glasses of the month of Nissan, then they would perceive a whole different picture. You see, the month of Nissan is known in Judaism as Zman Geulateinu, the time of our redemption. It is the month that we celebrate the miracles of the past, and dream about the miracles of the future.
The month of Nissan is filled with miracles, with the splitting of the Sea of Reeds as well as the Jordan river at the time of Joshua, along with the walls of Jericho tumbling down. In the month of Nisan, we witnessed heroism, including the fall of Masada and the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. In the month of Nissan we as a people witnessed G-d’s presence brought into this world with the erection of the Tabernacle, we felt euphoria as a Nation via the Exodus, and we felt national tragedy through the untimely death of Aharon’s sons, Nadav and Avihu. In this historical month we witnessed Justice, as the Eichman trial began, and we were instilled with a sense of hope, with the birth of the miracle child, Isaac, born to his elderly parents Abraham and Sarah. In this month our hope was restored with a proclamation by Napoleon in 1799 that the Jews can establish a Jewish State. In the month of Nissan we felt the horrors of slavery, through our time in Egypt and through the sealing of the Lodz Ghetto, the first Gehtto of its kind in the Holocaust. In this month of redemption, we also tasted the sensation of freedom, both through the Exodus, as well as the liberation of Buchenwald on April 11th 1945. In this majestic month, we were given a taste of peace through the Camp David Accords, and felt the warmth of G-d’s eternal covenant through the Brit Bein Habetarim with Abraham.
If you go outside in the spring, you may see the blooms, and buds and blossoms. But if you see the world through the prism of Jewish History, and go outside in the month of Nissan… you can see something altogether different… You can see G-d.
And when you are able to see G-d as clearly as we can during this month of miracles, you can make that special blessing that begins:
“Blessed are You who did not leave anything lacking in this world…”
As we enter this month of miracles and redemption, Rabbi Soloveitchik reminds us that the concept of time for our people is not linear. When we have our Sederim in the middle of this special month, we too experience the same Exodus that our forefathers did 3300 years ago. For Jews, the events that occurred in our history are timeless, and part and parcel to whom we are. That’s what it means to look at the world through the glasses of Jewish history.
Our Sages tell us that the miracles of Passover will pale in comparison to the miracles of Messianic Times. These miracles have already begun as we have observed the unfathomable with the resurrection of the Jewish Homeland in Israel after 2000 years. We are like dreamers in the return to Zion, as we are stand in the middle of what we understand to be “the beginning of the sprouting of our redemption.”
This Nissan, may we complete the process of redemption, and witness miracles and wonders for our people like never seen before.