Purim The Month of Adar: End and Beginning

Nov 17, 2014

Mrs. Deena Nataf,
Midreshet Rachel v’Chaya

Adar is the last station on the yearly cycle that begins with Nissan. It symbolizes the end…yet also the potential for rebirth, as we emerge from Adar into Nissan. Its zodiac sign is Dagim, fish. Just as fish live under the sea, concealed from the eyes of man, so, to, is Adar a month of concealment: cold, windy, and dark. Yet, like fish, who far from the human eye proliferate in an entire self-contained universe under the sea, Adar, too, conceals within itself the potential for spiritual proliferation within the self-contained universe of each individual human being.

The period of the First Temple was marked by the revealed presence of Hashem in the world, and open miracles. During the period between the two Temples, Hashem’s presence was concealed. Haman, however, only looked at the surface, at what was apparent to the naked eye, and he concluded that the Jews were no longer worthy of Divine grace. Therefore, he not only thought that their Hashem wouldn’t save them from his evil decree, but he extrapolated that Adar, the month of concealment, would be the most auspicious time to exterminate them. His big mistake was that he didn’t realize that on a cyclical plain, the end emerges into the beginning, and what seems like death might mean the potential for rebirth.

When the Jews of Persia were threatened with destruction, they began the process of teshuvah, which is digging inside oneself and discovering one’s tremendous potential for spiritual growth and renewed commitment to avodat Hashem. Generally, teshuvah is a hidden, quiet process, not apparent to others. Yet, once teshuvah is effected, it has magnificent results not only in the spiritual, hidden world, but in the revealed world as well.

In Persia, the Jews’ teshuvah saved them from both spiritual and physical destruction, and we can well take a lesson from them today. Our gedolim have said that Torah study and acts of chesed are what will save us from the terrible asonim, tragedies, — both physical and spiritual — that we face today. Adar is a good month to look deeper into ourselves and to discover hidden spiritual strengths that might not have been apparent to us until now.

As we don our masks and costumes this month, let them be a symbol for the infinite potential within each of us that lies hidden beneath the surface. And may our renewed commitment to fulfilling the will of Hashem bring Mashiach speedily in our days.

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