Rosh Chodesh Nisan began on the eve of March 13. This month is the first of months and hosts Passover, the Festival of Freedom, which is always celebrated on the 15th day of Nisan. This year it falls on March 27 at sundown. Nisan honors the first flowers that appear in spring and we perform the mitzvah of blessing the flowering trees when we first see them.
Passover, the spring festival, occurs on the night of the full moon after the Northern vernal equinox. According to NASA, this Full Moon, called the Worm Moon, will be at its fullest at 2:48 p.m. ET on March 28. It’s named so because earthworms begin to resurface at this time of year.
Having collectively come through a very tough year of challenges and loss, it’s uplifting to witness signs of spring manifest in blooming flowers and birdsong. Nisan’s themes include slavery versus freedom, new growth and beginnings, and sanctifying the New Moon.
Speaking of freedom, why is this Nisan different from all other Nisans? Well, for me, I’ve been watching TV, something I never do. The synchronicity in this is that I’ve been watching a series called “The Lost Kitchen” on the Magnolia Network (created by Chip and Joanna Gaines) on Discovery Plus. It’s about a woman named Erin French, who grew up in the small Maine town of Freedom. She worked hard to leave her city, only to return home to open an exclusive dining destination, which has become its jewel.
Pre-COVID, “The Lost Kitchen” was open from May to October. French, the owner and chef, cooked a set dinner with a prix fixe, multi-course menu, for 40 to 50 people, four nights a week, and edited the menu each day to keep up with the freshest seasonal changes and supply. The only way to make a reservation is to send a post card. The waiting list can span a few years.
Its almost all-female staff is made up of local women who have limited professional culinary experience, but what they possess is a passionate heart and fierce work ethic. Several of them are also farmers, providing the fresh meats, eggs, vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers served in the restaurant.
French clinks her wine glass at each meal experience and offers a toast to the diners. Beyond the food, which is exquisitely prepared, is the love infused into each aspect of the dining experience. She raises her glass and offers a welcome to Freedom where, beyond the delectable food, is the lasting experience of how it makes the diners feel.
The show highlights the readjustments that had to be made in order for the restaurant to survive COVID. Even though French is not Jewish herself, my Jewish soul is deeply touched by her indomitable spirit, creativity, the care that goes into feeding the stranger, and standing as an example of what’s possible when divine sparks are fanned in the human heart.
I’ve watched this series again, inspired, marveling at G-d’s bounty, the power of nature during all of its seasons, and the beauty inherent in following a dream.
The zodiac sign of Nisan is Aries. Those born under this sign can be spontaneous, courageous and energetic or impatient, headstrong and impulsive.
Hey is the Hebrew letter. We can use it as an out breath at the end of an accomplishment. It was the sound that Hashem made to speak the world into being.
Mars is the red, or warring, planet that rules at this time each year when from the New Moon to the Full Moon on Passover, our wars and conflicts are determined for the coming year. Watch for what’s raging this month.
The tribe is Judah, which means “to give thanks.”
Speech is the sense. On Passover, we fulfill the mitzvah of telling the story of our people through reading the haggadah, which means “telling.” We can speak words of gratitude.
The controlling limb is the right foot. This is the one on the gas pedal. How fast or slow do you need to go?
Meditation Focus: Close your eyes and, like Erin French, enjoy the freedom to dream big. What are you inspired to blossom?
To watch a clip of Chip and Joanna Gaines interviewing Erin French, click here.