Iyar is the Babilonian name for this month, which is referred to in the Torah as the “second month”. Another name for this month is Ziv – radiance. It is said that the generation that left Egypt became radiant during this month, for they were healed of their blemishes as they prepared themselves to receive the Torah.
Rosh Chodesh Iyar is always celebrated for two days, for the preceding month of Nisan is always a full month of thirty days.
The first Rosh Hodesh Iyar after the Exodus from Egypt fell on Shabbos. The people of Israel were encamped at Marah at that time and there the bitter water they found was miraculously transformed into sweet, fresh water, suitable for drinking, through the wood which Moshe cast into the water at God’s instruction.
This miracle taought Israel that bitterness and sweetness are but the result of God’s work. And He who made the sweet, sweet – can also make the bitter, sweet.
text D Cohen