Parashas Bo

In regard to the month of Nisan, the month during which the Exodus took place, the Torah states (Shemos 12:2): “This month shall be unto you the chief (rosh) of the months; it shall be the first (rishon) unto you of the months of the year.” The Midrash expounds (Shemos Rabbah 15:1):  
Hashem is called rishon (Yeshayah 44:6). Zion [referring to the Land of Israel in general and the site of the Mikdash in particular] is called rishon (Yirmiyah 17:12). Eisav is called rishon (Bereishis 25:25). Moshiach is called rishon (Yeshayah 41:27). Hashem, who is called rishon, will come and build the Beis HaMikdash, which is called rishon, will exact vengeance from Eisav, who is called rishon. And Moshiach, who is called rishon, will come in the month which is called rishon, as it is written: “This month shall be unto you the chief of the months.”
The Maggid explains that the term rishon denotes the root source from which later developments flow. In particular, the redemption from Rgypt is the root source of all other redemptions that Hashem has brought and will bring the Jewish People over the course of time, culminating with the final redemption with the coming of Moshiach. Indeed, the Midrash says here that just as the Exodus took place in Nisan, the final redemption will take place in Nisan as well.
The Maggid notes the Torah’s double language, “chief” and “first,” and explains that it reflects two merits of the month in which the Exodus took place. First, the month of Nisan is counted as the first month of the year. Second, the Nisan in which the Exodus took place is the chief among the Nisans of all time, being the root source of all redemptions in all Nisans thereafter, including the final one in the end of days.
It is in this vein that, in the blessing that concludes the Maggid section of the Pesach Haggadah, we praise Hashem for being the One “who has redeemed us, and redeemed our forefathers from Egypt.” Our own redemption is a result of the wonders Hashem wrought in redeeming our forefathers from Egypt.
The Maggid links all this to the following passage (Tehillim 44:2-5): “God, with our ears we heard, our fathers told us, of the works You performed for them in their days, the days of yore. … It is You who is my King, O God – order forth salvations for Yaakov!” We turn to Hashem as the One who built a fount of redemption into the fabric of the world in days of yore, so that redemption would be poised to spring forth in the final era. We entreat: “Hashem, since You have already set in place salvations for us, please show us mercy and order them forth now.”
I may add that this idea is put forward by Rabbeinu Yonah (on Berachos 4a) as one of the reasons behind the halachah specifying that, in our prayers, we must proceed without interruption from the blessing “Blessed are You, Hashem, who has redeemed Israel” to the Shemoneh Esrei (s’michah geulah l’tefillah). On the basis of the aid Hashem has granted us in the past, we turn to Him trustingly in prayer and ask Him to aid us now.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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