Hebrew Calendar

Hebrew Calendar: The First Month (“Aviv”/”Nisan”)

Shalom everyone! The First Month of the Hebrew calendar is called “Aviv” in the Torah. According to the Torah, Aviv marks the beginning of the months of the year and  the beginning of the religious calendar for marking the annual mo’edim (appointed times) of Yah:

“The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months; it shall be the first of the months of the year for you,” ~ Exodus 12:1-2

The word “Aviv” is a Hebrew word which has several meanings including “spring” (one of the four seasons), and the stage when grain seeds have reached full growth and have filled with the necessary starch indicating maturity for harvest. During the course of the Babylonian Exile, the first month was named “Nisan” a word of Assyrian-Babylonian origin. In the Tanakh, the first time this month is called “Nisan” is in Esther 3:7. After the Babylonian Exile, the month of Aviv/Nisan became the seventh month of the civil year on the post-Exilic Hebrew calendar.

Aviv has 30 days and typically occurs in Spring during the months of March to April on the Gregorian calendar.

The following are the holidays and special events that occur during during the First Month also known as Aviv/Nisan:

  • 1 of Aviv – the first day of the religious New Year
  • 14 of Aviv – Passover
  • 15-21 of Aviv – Chag HaMatzot (Feast of Unleavened Bread)

The following are some of the significant events in Israelite history which occurred during the First Month also known as Aviv/Nisan:

Pre-Babylonian Exile:

  • 1 of Aviv (circa 1456 BCE) – First commandment is given to the House of Israel (Exodus 12:1-2)
  • 1 of Aviv (circa 1455 BCE) – Mishkan (Tabernacle) inaugurated; death of Nadav and Avihu
  • 1 of Aviv (2127 AM) – Birth of Judah, son of Jacob.
  • 7 of Aviv (circa 1416 BCE) – Joshua sends two spies to Jericho.
  • 10 of Aviv (circa 1417 BCE) – Death of Miriam, 39 years after the Exodus.
  • 10 of Aviv (circa 1416 BCE) – The Israelites cross the Jordan river into Canaan (Joshua 4)
  • 15 of Aviv (circa 1713 BCE) – Birth of Isaac
  • 15 of Aviv (circa 1456 BCE) – The Exodus from Egypt
  • 16 of Aviv (circa 1273 BCE) – The Children of Israel stop eating Manna, six days after entering the Holy Land.
  • 17 of Aviv (circa 24th century BCE) Noah’s Ark came to rest on mountains of Ararat.
  • 21 of Aviv (circa 1456 BCE) – The sea splits, allowing Israel to escape the Egyptian army.
  • 26 of Aviv (circa 1386 BCE) – Death of Joshua
  • 28 of Aviv (circa 1415 BCE) – Conquest of Jericho by Joshua (Joshua 6).

Post-Babylonian Exile:

  • 3 of Nisan (1492 CE) – The Alhambra Decree orders the expulsion of Spanish Jews from Castile and Aragon.
  • 13 of Nisan (circa 474 BCE) – Haman‘s decree to annihilate the Jews is passed.
  • 15 of Nisan (474 BCE) Esther appears before Achashverosh unsummoned and invites him and Haman to a feast to be held the same day. During the feast she requests that the king and Haman attend a second feast the next day.
  • 16 of Nisan (circa 474 BCE) – Esther‘s second feast during which she accuses Haman regarding his plot to annihilate her nation. Achashverosh orders his servants to hang Haman.
  • 17 of Nisan (circa 474 BCE) – Haman hanged after Queen Esther‘s second drinking party.



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