Nisan: The Month of Redemption
The sages say: "In Nisan our forefathers were redeemed from Egypt, and in Nisan we will be redeemed." The name of the month, Nisan, is cognate to the Hebrew word for "miracles" (נסים). The two letters, nun, at the beginning and end of Nisan, allude, according to our sages, to "miracles of miracles" (נסי נסים).
In the Torah, the month of Nisan is referred to as "the month of spring." From the verse, "Guard the month of spring and make Pesach for God your God," the sages learn of the mitzvah to make a leap year, i.e., to add an extra month (a second month of Adar) when necessary, to ensure that the holiday of Pesach always falls in the season of spring. Such a year that has 13 (lunar) months is called a "pregnant year" (שנה מעוברת), indicating a state of being from which a new reality, specifically, the next month--the month of Nisan--is born.
Spring is the time of the rebirth of nature, of renewed growth and actualization of latent potential. This is intimated in the very first mitzvah that the Children of Israel were commanded to perform, before leaving Egypt: "This month is for you the head of months; it is for you the first of the months of the year." The root of the word for "month," (חודש), is identical to the root of the word "new" (חדש). Thus, "this month," the month of Nisan, is the source of all "renewal" that will appear throughout the year. In the above cited verse the root "new" appears three times--a triple renewal ("A triply winded thread is not easily severed").
The redemption of Israel is likened to a process of "sprouting" and "flourishing" (צמיחה). One of the names in the Bible for the Mashiach himself is Tzemach(צמח) "the sprout," as it is written: "His name is Tzemach and from beneath him [from the earth] he will flourish" (Zachariah 6:12)
The Torah states: "Today you are going out, in the month of the spring." This verse refers not only to the redemption from Egypt, but to the future redemption as well. When Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi asked the Mashiach, "When will our master arrive?" he answered, "Today!" (hayom!). When Mashiach did not arrive on that day, the prophet Elijah explained to Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi that the Mashiach had in fact referred to the verse, "Today [hayom], if you listen to His voice."
The Mashiach's answer may also be understood to allude to the above cited verse, "Today [hayom] you are going out, in the month of the spring." From this we may learn that the spiritual service upon which the future redemption is dependent is the service of "going out" of one's initial "introverted" or "pregnant" state of being, to be "born" in full manifestation to the external reality of the world. The revelation of Mashiach himself is referred to as "Today [hayom] I [God] have given you birth" (Psalms 2:7). This parallels the natural flourishing of the month of spring.
The greatest miracle of the month of Nisan--the month of redemption--is that in Nisan nature itself experiences true renewal. The prophet says: "Just as in the days of your going out of Egypt, I will show you wonders" (Micah 7:15). From this we learn that the miracles of the future redemption will be "wonders" even in comparison to the miracles of the exodus from Egypt. Chassidut explains that the miracles of the exodus from Egypt were so powerfully supernatural that they broke the natural order of the world. In the future redemption, however, the miracles will unite with nature and will illuminate the world through nature. Presently, the myriad miracles "enclothed" in nature are concealed by the cloak of nature. In the future, nature will become a transparent pane through which the brilliant, Divine light of the miracle of true renewal of all reality will shine. Of the future it is said: "Night (nature) as day (miracles) will shine" (Psalms 139:12).
By "gently" uniting with nature, refining and illuminating it, the realm of the miraculous will "gladden" the realm of the natural. This is compared to the mitzvah incumbent upon a husband to "gladden" his wife. The Arizal teaches that each of the twelve months of the year possesses a particular permutation of God's essential four-letter Name, Havayah, which derives from (the initial letters or the final letters of) a verse in the Bible. The permutation of the month of Nisan, the first of the months of the year, is the natural spelling of God's essential Name, י-הוה, which derives from the initial letters of the verse in Psalms (96:11): "The heavens will be happy and the earth will rejoice" (ישמחו השמים ותגל הארץ). The heavens (the spiritual dimension of reality) and the earth (the physical dimension of reality)--nature--rejoice.
Joy brings forth revelation ([התגלות], which in Hebrew, stems from the same root as "rejoice" [ותגל]). "The new heavens and the new earth," potential in God's infinite light ("standing before Me") become revealed in (a truly "new") nature (a "nature" of unbounded joy in God's consummate revelation to His creation). This is the greatest of miracles--"the miracle of miracles"--of the month of Nisan, the month of redemption.