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Thursday, March 26, 2020

CHODESH NISSAN: FIRST THE PLAGUES, THEN THE REDEMPTION

"When Israel went out of Egypt" (Psalm 114:1) occurred under the sign of Aries," states the caption to an illustration in a 1769 Haggadah manuscript from Amsterdam, scribed by Yehoshua ben Mordechai of Wolentz. . In the painting, a lamb can be seen floating in the sky; connecting Aries to the Pesach sacrifice.

CHODESH NISSAN: FIRST THE PLAGUES, THEN THE REDEMPTION 

Chodesh Nisan 5780 (March 26 – April 24, 2020)
 
Why is this Chodesh Nissan different from all others which have gone before it? It’s the first time since the original Chodesh Nissan during which the Israelites experienced the Ten Plagues from the safety of their dwellings that we’ve huddled indoors, either alone or with our families, praying that the Angel of Death will pass over us.   

The celestial cycles have spoken: the Saturn-Pluto conjunction of January 12 kicked off these traumatic times. April 4th will see the first of 2020’s three Jupiter-Pluto conjunctions triggering larger and larger waves of powerful paranoia, doubt and fear. Government crackdowns on personal freedoms during times of great global pandemics may trigger rebellious reactions by those whose trust in our societal structures and institutions have already been eroded by the untrustworthy actions of those institutions themselves. 

Nissan is the month in which we remember and reenact the deliverance which seemed impossible by human standards, and yet came anyway. The Full Libra “Super” Moon of Erev Pesach April 8 brings hope as we recall how the burden of Egyptian slavery was rolled away in a single night – the night we hid ourselves indoors. 

The Last Quarter Moon in Capricorn with the Sun square Pluto April 14 on the eve of the seventh day of Pesach reveals the impotence of top-down structural solutions to a crisis which can only be addressed from the bottom up. Individual responsibility rather than governmental caretaking or corporate culpability turns out to be the defining difference between life and death. 

The Sun/Saturn square April 20 reveals the uselessness of an “us vs. them” mentality. The decisions you make today determine your own future as well as those you’ve never met. The virus of contagious collective fear must be battled by individual faith. Choose wisely and choose life while you still can!

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