World Enters Joyous Month of Adar

Tuesday and Wednesday are both Rosh Chodesh (the “head” of the Jewish month of) Adar, the most joyous month of the year, which historically has heralded unexpected blessings for the Jewish nation.

Ezra HaLevi , | updated: 14:14

"When Adar enters," the Talmud declares, "joy is increased." Adar is the month during which the Jewish people's immediate annihilation in the time of Queen Esther was thwarted, "transforming sorrow to joy, mourning to festivity." (Esther 9:22) The Purim holiday is celebrated on the 14th and 15th days of Adar to commemorate that event.

Before the Jewish people left Egyptian slavery, the ninth plague – paralyzing darkness – struck the Egyptians on Rosh Chodesh Adar, six weeks prior to the Exodus. "No [gentile] man saw his fellow, and no [gentile] man could move from his place." (Exodus 10:23)

Following the Jewish people's incomplete return to Zion in the time of Ezra the Scribe, the building of the second Temple was completed in Adar.

Judaism's greatest prophet, Moses, was born, and 120 years later also passed-on, on the 7th of Adar.

Several Diaspora communities throughout the ages adopted their own local Purim holidays to mark days when the community thwarted genocide at the hands of gentiles. On the 18th of Adar, for example, the Jews of Cairo celebrated the "Purim of Cario" each year following an intended massacre in 1524 (CE).

Tuesday is actually the last day of the month of Shvat, but when a month has 30 days, both the last day of the previous month and the first of the following one serve as Rosh Chodesh of the coming month.

The special Hallel prayer is recited on both Tuesday and Wednesday and the Ya'aleh v'Yavoh portion is added to the silent Amida meditation and Grace After Meals (until sundown Wednesday, as Jewish days begin with the night).

"V'nahafoch Hu!" [roughly, "and the tables were turned!"] is the rallying cry of the Jewish people during the month of Adar, after the Persian royal advisor Haman's genocidal plot to rid the world of the Jewish people was foiled through the self-sacrifice of Esther, a beautiful woman forced to cohabit with the gentile Persian king and her uncle, Mordechai, who refused to bow down to Haman, despite pressure from the Jewish community to submit rather than enrage the despot.

Our sages advised Jews throughout history to seek to schedule critical events, in which Divine assistance is desired, during the month of Adar (Tractate Ta'anit 29a). In 2004, Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was killed by the IDF on the 29th of Adar.