MORAH JACKSON’S CORNER
February 28, 2018
9 Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Month of Adar
The Jewish month of Adar began on Friday, February 20, 2015. Known as a month of celebration and happiness, Adar contains the joyous holiday of Purim that takes place mid-month. Purim, however, isn’t the only thing that makes Adar special.
Be Happy Now!
The Talmud tells us that “when the month of Adar arrives, we increase in joy” to welcome a season of miracles. Accordingly, the Talmud tells us that this month is fortuitous for the Jewish people.
2. What’s in a name?
The Hebrew name “Adar” is related to the word “adir,
” which denotes strength and power. The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, points out that the term adir
is used to refer to the Jewish people. What could be more apropos for the month when the Jewish people’s fortunes are strong?
3. Double Your Joy. Double Your Fun.
Adar is the only month in the Jewish calendar that comes back for seconds. The Jewish leap year, or shanah me’uberet
(literally “pregnant year” in Hebrew), occurs approximately once every three years. In order to assure that the lunar months of the Jewish year stay in sync with the solar calendar, an additional month of Adar is added. Purim is celebrated in the second Adar.
4. Moses Passed Away
Tradition relates that Moses passed away on 7 Adar.
The Talmud tells us that when the evil Haman, villain of the Purim story, wished to destroy our nation, he staged a lottery to determine the most opportune date. When the lot (called a pur,
hence the holiday name of Purim) fell on Adar, he rejoiced. What better month to punish the Jews, he thought, than Adar, when Moses passed away? Surely, no month could be lower for the Jewish people . . .
5. *Spoiler Alert* It was Moses’ Birthday as Well
What Haman did not know was that Moses passed away on the very same day he was born—the 7th of Adar! The day of Moses’ birth, the Talmud relates, helped avert the evil decree.
6. A Whole New World
In 1940, on the 9th of Adar II, the Previous Rebbe, Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, of righteous memory (1880-1950), disembarked at the New York Harbor. Fleeing from Nazi Germany and the Holocaust of European Jewry, the Previous Rebbe did not merely seek refuge in America. Instead, he laid the foundations for Chabad’s revolution in Jewish engagement and life in the Western Hemisphere. This day is celebrated by Chabad chassidim around the world.
7. Under the Sea
The zodiacal sign (mazal
) for Adar is Pisces, or dagim
in Hebrew. In Jewish tradition, fish are a sign of blessing and fruitfulness. Also, just as fish live in water, the Jewish people thrive when immersed in the Torah, which is compared to life-giving water.
8. Haman Died in . . . Nissan!
Though we celebrate the miraculous events that brought about the holiday of Purim in Adar, Haman was actually hanged in Nissan. Purim commemorates not Haman’s death, but rather the time when our ancestors rested after their miraculous salvation and victory in battle.
9. On the Way Out!
Adar was the last month the Jewish people spent in Egypt before the Exodus. Adar’s joy is so great, in part, because it serves as the opening to an even greater rejoicing: the miracles of Passover.
Have a happy month!