It is no coincidence that, as we read in Parshat Pekudei (Shemot 40:2), the Mishkan was established on the first day of the month of Nissan. This was exactly one year after the command of “HaChodesh HaZeh Lachem Rosh Chodashim,” “This month shall be for you the first of months” (12:2), the Mitzvah of Rosh Chodesh.
R’ Hirsch explains this parallel as follows. The significance of Rosh Chodesh as a cause for celebration is not the astronomical occurrence of a new moon, but rather that Hashem has built into nature the concept of renewal and revival, which we are to use as a model for our own lives. This is to be understood on both a personal and communal level. We all experience hardships as individuals and as a nation, but we are able to look to the waxing and waning of the moon as an inspiration for strengthening our resolve to pick ourselves up and move on.
The establishment of the Mishkan specifically on Rosh Chodesh Nissan is a reminder that our perception of the presence of the Shechinah in our lives is also something that fluctuates. At times, we feel a strong sense that God is with us, while at other times we feel that He is distant and cannot perceive His presence. Indeed, we live in times of Hester Panim, of Hashem hiding His face, when He does not reveal Himself to us in open, unambiguous ways. The establishment of the Mishkan on Rosh Chodesh Nissan reminds us to strengthen our commitment to God and to patiently await His return to our midst.