The Talmud declares, “When we enter Adar, we increase in joy.” Indeed, there is good reason to be joyful during the Hebrew month of Adar.
By Rachel Avraham
The holiday of Purim falls in the month of Adar. According to the Book of Esther, the month of Adar was “reversed…from grief to joy.” Similarly, the Talmud declares, “When we enter Adar, we increase in joy.”
Yet one may wonder; why is the month of Adar considered a such happy time for the Jewish people? There are indeed many different joyous dates on the Jewish calendar, such as Passover, for example, yet none other than Adar lasts the entire month. Why is this month different than all others?
According to Jewish tradition, the answer to this question is that the excessive joy that the Jewish people experienced during Purim surpasses the happiness that Jews had experienced throughout history. During the first Passover, for example, the Jewish people had already witnessed many awesome miracles before they were liberated from slavery in Egypt.
They witnessed the ten plagues that befell the Egyptians, as well as the parting of the Red Sea and the manna that fell in the wilderness. The liberation from Egypt came at a time when the Jews were already “seeing the light”.
However, during the Purim story, the Jewish people were at an all time low – experienced complete darkness and near annihilation. They were exiled from their ancestral homeland, the Jewish Temple had been destroyed, and thus Jews were no longer witnessing the miracles that were performed daily in the Jewish Temple. Indeed, Haman saw all of this, and figured that he would succeed in destroying the Jewish people during the month of Adar – the month of Moses’ death (not realizing that Moses was also born in Adar).
Despite all of this, the Jewish people held onto their faith and managed to succeed in preventing genocide, on the 14th and 15th of Adar. It was a complete and extreme reversal from darkness into light, mourning into joy, death into life. And so the joy of Adar lasts an entire month, rather than just during the Purim holiday.
It is important to note that other than the Purim story, many wonderful things have happened to the Jewish people during the month of Adar. For example, on 4 Adar, in 1798, the Jewish ghetto in Rome was legally abolished.
On 7 Adar, in 1392 BCE, Moses the prophet was born. On 8 Adar, 1674, for the first time in the new world, the Jews of Barbados were given the right to give testimony utilizing a Jewish instead of a Christian Bible, and in 1825, Jews living in the State of Maryland were given the right to hold public office. On 10 Adar, 1849, the Jews of the Austrian Empire were granted equal rights.
On the 16th of Adar, 371 BCE, King Cyrus permitted the rebuilding of the Second Temple. On the 17 of Adar, 1979, Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty. On 18 Adar, the Jews of Yemen celebrate the Purim of Sana’a, where the Jews of Yemen are believed to have been spared after a murdered Yemenite prince miraculously arose to point out his true killers, thus absolving the Jews of responsibility for his death. On the 18 of Adar, 1953, Joseph Stalin passed away, thus saving thousands of Jews from being deported to Siberia.
On 20 Adar, Vincents Fettmilch, who was known in Germany as a new Haman, was executed in 1616. On the 21 of Adar, 1948, the siege of Jerusalem came to an end. On the 22 of Adar, 1430, many Christian officials who were plotting to force the Jews of Rome to convert to Christianity or die were killed in an earthquake. Rabbi Yehoshua claimed that the 25 of Adar is the first day of creation in Rosh Hashanah 10:2.
On the 27th of Adar, in 1821, the Portuguese Inquisition came to an end. On the 28 of Adar, 163 BCE, King Antiochus V granted the Jews of Israel religious freedom; and in 1524, the Purim of Cairo occurred when Egyptian ruler Ahmed Pacha, who had decreed the extermination of the Jews, was killed.
All of these events demonstrate that during the month of Adar, the Jewish people have much to be joyous about.
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