Counting Up and Counting Down

There is a well-known Machlokes between Rav Yehoshua and Rav Elazar, whether the world was created in Nissan or Tishrei[1]. We pasken like both opinions. We daven on Rosh Hashana that toady is “Haras Olam” the pregnancy of the world implying that Tishrei is when the world was created. But, we say Birchas Hachama in Nissan since that is when the sun was placed in its orbit, implying the opposite. The way to reconcile this seeming contradiction is through the Chazal[2], “Originally HaShem thought to create the world with the attribute of justice, but when he saw it could not exist in that fashion he joined with it the attribute of mercy.” The creation in Tishrei is the one of Din and the thought of HaShem; the creation of Nissan is with mercy and it is the actuality of the creation[3]. This is seen in the words of the tefila, “Haras Olam”. The word Haras means pregnancy; however it is connected to the word for thought, Hirhur. If so we are saying on Rosh Hashana in Tishrei that today is the day that the world was conceived in both meanings; in thought and in the beginning stage which is the pregnancy and only later in Nissan reached fruition.

This is very clear in the different types of Yomim Tovim of the two months. Rosh HaShana is the time of Din, justice and judgment. Nissan is in the spring and is the time of rebirth and mercy. This is further explained by examining the first night of Pesach. As Rav Dessler explains (מכתב מאליהו חלק ב’ עמ’ 19), the Jews at the night of Pesach were bereft of any Mitzvos. They were at the fiftieth level of Tumah, and did not at all deserve to be redeemed. HaShem gave them an “Isarusa D’Leila” an arousal of spirituality from above. It was a gift that they did not deserve, completely through the attribute of HaShem’s mercy. So Rosh Hashana and Tishrei are the beginning when HaShem thought to create the world through the attribute of justice. Nissan is when, so to speak, He saw that without adding the mercy of Yetizas Mitzrayim the world could not survive.

This also explains why the Malachim only object to Krias Yam Suf[4]. As Chazal tell us when HaShem was about to split the Yam Suf, the angels objected. What is the difference between the Jews and the Egyptians, they are both idol worshippers! Why was there no such objection at Yetzias Mitzrayim? Answers R’ Tzadok, at the time of Yetzias Mitzrayim it was done through the attribute of mercy so there was no place for them to object. But by the time of Krias Yam Suf, the Jews had already risen to the level of trying to deserve on their own, and then there could be an objection on the basis of a seeming miscarriage of justice.

This is also why Tishrei is the Rosh Hashanah for the whole world, as we say in the davening; all the inhabitants of the world go before You in judgment. But Pesach is for Klal Yisroel. The Jews receive the attribute of mercy because of the Avos.

This can also explain the different ways we focus on Rosh Hashanah and Pesach, whether leading up to, or counting from. Even though everyone begins to prepare for Pesach way before, but the Halachic counting, starts after the Seder. We begin to count Sefira after the Seder and strive to be prepared for Shavuos. Rosh Hashanah we start in Elul and prepare for the climax of the Aseres Yemei Teshuva. Since Rosh Hashana is the time of Din-Justice we need to prepare and we have the tools to prepare-Selichos, Tekias Shofar, L’Dovid. But Nissan is the time of mercy; it is a gift. A gift cannot be earned, so there is no preparation. But when you receive a gift you need to acknowledge and not waste it. So after we receive the gift of Pesach, we need to count up through the Sefira to utilize it correctly and wisely.

Let us use the gift of Pesach and use it as a springboard to count up to the goal of Shavuos and to be prepared to receive the Torah.





[1]ראש השנה דף י/ב – העולם) תניא רבי אליעזר אומר בתשרי נברא העולם בתשרי נולדו אבות בתשרי מתו אבות בפסח נולד יצחק בראש השנה נפקדה שרה רחל וחנה בראש השנה יצא יוסף מבית האסורין בראש השנה בטלה עבודה מאבותינו במצרים בניסן נגאלו בתשרי עתידין ליגאל רבי יהושע אומר בניסן נברא העולם בניסן נולדו אבות בניסן מתו אבות בפסח נולד יצחק בראש השנה נפקדה שרה רחל וחנה בראש השנה יצא יוסף מבית האסורין בראש השנה בטלה עבודה מאבותינו במצרים בניסן נגאלו בניסן עתידין ליגאל

[2]רש”י על בראשית פרק א פסוק א –  ברא אלהים – ולא אמר ברא ה’ שבתחלה עלה במחשבה לבראותו במדת הדין וראה שאין העולם מתקיים והקדים מדת רחמים ושתפה למדת הדין. והיינו דכתיב ביום עשות ה’ אלהים ארץ ושמים:

[3]ספר ליקוטי אמרים – אות טז- דין וכידוע מהאריז”ל והוא גם כן בתוספות בראש השנה (כ”ז.) ד”ה כמאן עיין מה שכתבו מתחילה וכו’ ולבסוף בראו במדת הרחמים דבזה נתקיימו דברי שני האומרים דבניסן ותשרי נברא העולם, ובתשרי הוא הרת עולם במחשבה [וקיימתי דבר זה מסברא דנפשיה בקונטרס משיב הטענה שלי] והוא במדת הדין ולכן צריך אתערותא דלתתא מקודם ואתוון למפרע שנקרא שהאור מתחיל מלמטה על ידי אתערותא דלתתא מוליד אתערותא דלעילא למעלה ולכך הוי”ה המושלת בתשרי צירוף והיו הבנים קודמים לאבות

[4]  ילקוט שמעוני שמות – פרק יד – רמז רלד –  דבר אחר והמים להם חומה שירד סמאל ואמר לפניו רבונו של עולם לא עבדו ישראל עבודה זרה במצרים ואתה עושה להם


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