The Joy of Adar
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This evening we begin the celebration of Rosh Chodesh Adar. Adar is very special to me, as it is the month of my birth. More than that, it has some very special significance in Kabbalah related to the Zodiac. Each month is also connected to one of the 12 tribes of Israel, and there is a special connection to my name in this months as well.
Adar is the last month of the Hebrew months. Winter is still upon us, but we can almost smell Spring in the air. While Nisan is the first of the months, and gives us Pesach and redemption, Adar can be cold and lonely as we deal with the frustration of and depression of unfinished business. However, there is a reason and a hope in the month of Adar. This year is a leap year, which means we have two months of Adar. This is the same as the year of my birth, when I was born on the 5th of Adar Aleph (1).
The tribe of Israel related to the month of Adar is Yosef, however, as you know there is no tribe of Yosef, but instead these tribes are attributed to his two sons Ephraim and Menashe. It could be said that Ephraim and Menashe represent Adar Aleph and Adar Bet. There is also the blessing of Yaacov, “and let them grown into a multitude.” Some say that this blessing has a paraphrase in Hebrew that relates to the reproduction of fish, which just happens to be the zodiac sign of Pisces for the month of Adar.
In the book of Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Formation) the first of the Kabbalistic works, attributed to our patriarch Avraham Avinu, it teaches us that each month also has associated with it, among other things, a letter and a “sense.” The letter of Adar is kuf and the “sense” of the month is laughter. This is of course manifested in the holiday of Purim, the most joyous of all the holidays, as it says in the Talmud: “When Adar begins let joy increase”
(Taanit 26b ).
In my Jewels of Kabbalah Whatsapp group, I recently wrote about Hester Panim, the hiding of the face. Hester Panim is relates to G-d hiding His face, which I will touch on right after we talk about the Book of Esther or Megilat Esther which is read on the holiday of Purim.
At the end of Esther in chapter 9:1 we read,… "the day the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them it was turned to the contrary" וְנַהֲפ֣וֹךְ (v’nahafuch), that the Jews had rule over those who hated them.” The word nahafuch means to “completely turn around,” and in modern Hebrew can mean “upside down.” For instance, one of my favorite coffee drinks is a Cafe Hafuch, or upside down coffee, similar to a Latte. The idea of turning things around or completely upside down is one of the main concepts of this month and the holiday of Purim.
It is noted by all the commentaries that G-d’s name is not mentioned in Megilat Esther, the Book of Esther. Thus, the idea of Hester Panim, or the hiding of G-d’s face. As a matter of fact, the name Esther comes from the root “to hide,” while the word Megilat comes from the word “to reveal.” In the story of Purim, God’s Presence is hidden, yet so revealed. Intentionally, in the lowest of the worlds, in the last of the months, in the midst of the evil designs of Haman, there G-d reveals His “hiding in history.” Though Purim reveals no wondrous open miracles, more importantly, it reveals the ongoing miracle of another amazing concept, and that is Divine Providence. Even though it seems to be hidden in the midst of history and politics.
There is also a Hebrew letter attached to the month, and that is the letter “kuf” (ק) It is interesting to note that the words for holiness (kedusha) and shells of impurity (klipot) both start with the letter kuf. This teaches us that in spite of the cold depression of Winter, we have a spiritual imperative to raise the holy sparks from their klipot and redeeming them by completely turning them around. This is accomplished during Purim when that unholy party thrown by Ahasverush is nahafuch (turned around) into a feast of joy and celebration.
In closing, I mentioned my name, which is Yitzchak Moshe Ben Ephraim. Can you see the connections? Yitzchak means “laughter,” which is connected to the “sense” of the month as I noted above. Ephraim is one of the two sons of Yosef related to the tribe of the mont of Adar, and finally, there is Moshe. I did not mention that Moshe Rabbeinu (Moses our Teacher) was also born in Adar, just two days after my birthday on the 7th of Adar.
In another interesting connection, my civil birthday, which happens to be Feb. 6th, just happens to fall this year on Rosh Chodesh Adar Aleph. So my friends, we have much to look forward to in the upcoming month. Since it is said that birthday’s are an auspicious time for our prayers to be heard, please let me know if there is anything I can pray for you on the 5th of Adar, as I believe that after what has been a very long Winter for me, I am going to see the joy, celebration, and complete turning around as we enter into the final month of the year.