Nisan is the first month of the religious year, the seventh of the civil year. Nisan (the name is derived from the Assyrian) has thirty days, and its zodiac sign is Aries (which the rabbis connected with the paschal lamb). In the earlier biblical books, this month's name is given as Aviv.

"Keep the New-Moon of Aviv / Ripe-Grain.
You are to observe Passover to YHWH your God,
for in the New-Moon of Aviv
YHWH your God took you out of Egypt, at night."
(Deut. 16:1)

In translating the word Aviv as he did, Prof. Everett Fox (Shocken Bible: Vol. I) both preserves the Hebrew sound and gives its original meaning — the season of the ripening of the grain. Only later did the Hebrew term "aviv" come to apply to the spring season in general.

According to tradition, Nisan is the month

of the creation of the world

of the birth of the patriarchs

of the Exodus from Egypt

of the erection of the Tabernacle

and it will also be the month of redemption.

The 1st day of Nisan was the New Year of Kings, and reigns were reckoned from that date.


The 14th of Nisan is the fast of the firstborns (preceding Passover).


The 15th of Nisan is the start of Passover (which lasts until 21 Nisan in Israel, until 22 Nisan in the Diaspora).

The Omer period is counted from the 16th of Nisan.

Nisan is a festive month when public mourning is avoided and Takhanun (prayer of supplication) is omitted from the daily prayers.


Yom ha-Sho'ah (Holocaust Memorial Day) is now observed on 27 Nisan (the Hebrew date of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, 1943).



NISAN Table of Contents





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