Adar: Pregnant With Meaning

Don’t Worry, Be Happy!

In the Hebrew calendar, 7 out of 19 years are leap years that contain thirteen months rather than twelve. The thirteenth month is not a new and different month, but rather a repetition of an existing month, Adar. A leap year is known as a “pregnant year” because Adar “births” a second Adar. Why is Adar the month that gets replicated? Maybe because it’s the month of joy, and God wants us to be joyful! 


– Adar contains the holiday of Purim, which commemorates the salvation of the Jewish people in ancient Persia from a genocidal plot by the wicked vizier Haman to “destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, infants and women, in a single day.” (Esther 3:13) God saved us through His servants Esther and Mordechai, and Haman was “hoisted on his own petard” and hanged on the gallows he built for Mordechai. Purim is a holiday of feasting and merriment. Customs include hosting meals, giving generously to charity, delivering sweet treats to friends, and attending public readings of the Megillah (Book of Esther) which recounts the miraculous events. In a leap year, Purim is celebrated in Adar II. 

– Moses was born on the 7th of Adar. (He also died on that day, which is considered a particular blessing.) The Lubavitcher Rebbe teaches that a person’s soul shines stronger on his or her birthday. Every generation of Jews contains a spark of Moses, who brought us the Torah and led us to the Promised Land. Therefore Moses’ birthday is like the collective birthday of the Jewish people and all of our souls shine brighter at this time.

– The Sages of the Talmud teach that Adar is a fortuitous month and a season of miracles. “When Adar enters, joy increases.” Rabbi Yerachamiel Tilles calls Adar “the official lucky month of the Jewish people.” It’s even baked into Jewish law, which recommends that litigation with a non-Jew be scheduled for Adar.

– The Zodiac sign for Adar is Pisces, the fish. Traditionally fish are a sign of blessing and fertility. We are likened to fish because just as fish need to be immersed in water to thrive, the Jewish people need to be immersed in Torah to thrive. A Jew without Torah is a fish out of water.

– Adar is related to the word “adir” which connotes strength and power. The Rebbe points out that the term “adir” is used to refer to the Jewish people. 

– Adar was the last month the Jews spent in Egypt before the Exodus. Part of the excitement of Adar is the anticipation of the next holiday, Passover, the time of our liberation.

May this Adar be a time of joy and miracles for Israel and the world!

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