This “Essence” is taken from the Sourcebook for Leaders, written by Rabbi RachelLavan's younger daughter and Jacob's beloved wife second wife (after he is initially tricked into marrying her older sister, Leah). Rachel grieves throughout her life that she is barren while Leah is so fertile. Ultimately, Rachel gives birth to Joseph and dies in childbirth with Benjamin. Rachel is remembered as compassionate (she is said to still weep for her children), and infertile women often invoke Rachel as a kind of intercessor and visit her tomb on the road to Bethlehem. Gartner and Barbara Berley Melits, for Rosh HodeshThe new moon, which marks the beginning of the Jewish month. According to tradition, because women did not participate in the sin of the golden calf, they were given the holiday of Rosh Chodesh. It is customary for women not to work on Rosh Chodesh.: It’s a Girl Thing! This experiential program was created by Kolot: The Center for Jewish Women’s and Gender Studies to strengthen the Jewish identity and self-esteem of adolescent girls through monthly celebrations of the New Moon festival. The program is now available through Moving Traditions.
Adar I is the twelfth month of the Jewish calendar.
Seven of the nineteen years in the cycle of the Jewish calendar are leap years. When we add an extra month, Adar I, the regular Adar becomes Adar II. During leap years we celebrate PurimLit. "Lots." A carnival holiday celebrated on the 14th of the Jewish month of Adar, commemorating the Jewish victory over the Persians as told in the Book of Esther. Purim is celebrated by reading the megilla (Book of Esther), exchanging gifts, giving money to the poor, and holding a festive meal. At the megilla reading, merrymakers are dressed in costumes, people drink, and noisemakers (graggers) are sounded whenever the villain Haman's name is mentioned. in Adar II.
Adar I comes at the same time as the secular months February/March. We can think of Adar I as a hidden month, revealed only when we need it, to set the calendar straight! Similarly, in the natural world, many things hidden are coming to light. Hints of spring, until now hidden beneath the snow, begin to show themselves. We wonder when the first flowers will come out of their hiding place.
The mazalGood fortune, luck, and the Hebrew sign of the Zodiac. (constellation) for Adar I is Pisces, dagim (fish). Living in the vast, deep ocean, fish are the creatures of a “hidden world.” During Purim, which doesn’t come until Adar II, Queen EstherHeroine of the Purim story and Megillat (the scroll of) Esther. She is married to the king by her cousin Mordecai and ultimately saves her people from execution. saved the day by revealing her Jewish identity to the king. We imagine that during Adar I Esther’s true identity was still hidden like a fish under water.
Both Adar I and II are considered the happiest, most joyous months of the Hebrew calendar. Adar’s motto is “Mishenihnas adar marbim besimha” or “When Adar arrives, joy increases.” Tradition teaches that Adar is so full of joy that it is as if Adar were pregnant with happiness. Some years we need two Adars to contain all the joy of Adar!
There are no holidays in Adar I; however, the TalmudThe rabbinic compendium of lore and legend composed between 200 and 500 CE. Study of the Talmud is the focus of rabbinic scholarship. The Talmud has two versions, the main Babylonian version (Bavli) and the smaller Jerusalem version (Yerushalmi). It is written in Rabbinic Hebrew and Aramaic. teaches that the only difference between Adar I and Adar II is that we tell the story of Purim in Adar II. Adar I can therefore be considered a month of preparation for the festivities of Purim.
Purim is observed on the 14th of Adar II, except in JerusalemLit. City of peace From the time of David to the Roman destruction, Jerusalem was the capital of Israel and the spiritual and governmental center of the Jewish people. During the long exile, Jews longed to return to Jerusalem and wrote poems, prayers, and songs about the beloved city. In 1967, with the capture of the Old City, Jerusalem was reunited, becoming "the eternal capital of Israel." Still, the longing for peace is unfulfilled., where Purim is celebrated on the 15th of Adar II in honor of the Jews of Shushan, who fought against their enemies for an extra day.
The story of Purim is told in Megillat Esther (The Book of Esther). Megillat Esther is one of two books of the Bible to bear a woman’s name. (The other is RuthAn important female biblical character with her own book. The Book of Ruth, read on Shavuot, tells the story of Ruth’s devotion to her mother-in-law, Naomi, and their return to Israel. Ruth’s story is often read as the first story of conversion. Ruth is the grandmother of King David..) Jews often refer to the Hebrew Bible as the Tanach, after the initial letters of its three parts: TorahThe Five Books of Moses, and the foundation of all of Jewish life and lore. The Torah is considered the heart and soul of the Jewish people, and study of the Torah is a high mitzvah. The Torah itself a scroll that is hand lettered on parchment, elaborately dressed and decorated, and stored in a decorative ark. It is chanted aloud on Mondays, Thursdays, and Shabbat, according to a yearly cycle. Sometimes "Torah" is used as a colloquial term for Jewish learning and narrative in general. (Instruction), Nevi’im (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings). Megillat Esther is found in Ketuvim.
Purim is the only Jewish holiday that focuses on the talents, courage, and dedication of a woman. The story begins when Queen VashtiIn the Purim story, she is King Ahashveros's first wife. In the first chapter of the Book of Esther, Quieen Vashti refuses to dance for the King and is banished. Long villainized, Vashti has been recently embraced by Jewish women as a contemporay feminist heroine for her defiance of the king. is banished for refusing to entertain the king’s guests, and Esther is chosen in a beauty contest to be the new queen. Haman, the evil courtier, gets promoted to grand vizier, but Mordechai, Esther’s uncle, refuses to bow down to him.
Haman decides to take revenge on Mordechai and on all the Jews. He convinces the foolish King Ahashverosh (Ahasuerus) to call for the massacre of all the Jews throughout the kingdom. Purim means “lots” because Haman picked lots to decide precisely when to kill the Jews. Mordechai and Esther devise a plan to foil Haman’s evil plot. Esther courageously approaches the king and invites him to a series of parties in Haman’s honor. At the third party Esther wines and dines the king, reveals that she is Jewish, and pleads for the life of her people. Haman is hanged, and the Jews are saved.
Queen Vashti and Queen Esther show tremendous bravery in the Purim story. We will honor them both in Adar II.
DinaDina is Jacob's only daughter and the sister of the twelve tribes.. Beginning in the second century CE, the twelve calendar months were associated with the twelve tribes of IsraelLit. ''the one who struggles with God.'' Israel means many things. It is first used with reference to Jacob, whose name is changed to Israel (Genesis 32:29), the one who struggles with God. Jacob's children, the Jewish people, become B'nai Israel, the children of Israel. The name also refers to the land of Israel and the State of Israel.. Adar I is an additional, 13th month which some traditions associate with Dina, Leah’s only daughter, and the youngest of Leah’s children.
Dina’s story is complicated, and we know little about it. One day she goes out to meet the women of the local Hivite town and ends up entangled with one of the men of the place. Some traditions say that Dina chose freely to spend time with this man; the Torah implies that he imposed himself on her by force. Unfortunately, the Torah does not record Dina’s own thoughts and feelings on the matter, and so we are left to speculate.
Dina’s story reminds us to be careful and to make good choices in potentially dangerous situations. At the same time, it is very important to understand that when someone is the victim of a crime when he or she was simply going about freely, the victim is innocent. When we or someone we care about are hurt, there can be a tendency to wish that the victim had done something differently so she would not have come in harm’s way. But we must remember that the one harmed is not in any way at fault.
HamantaschenLit. (Yiddish) Haman's hat, ears, or pocket. Triangular cakes with fillings which are traditionally eaten on Purim to symbolize Haman's hat (sometimes his pocket or ears). are the best-known traditional food for Purim. These triangular cookies, filled with poppy seeds, fruit, cheese, or prune jam, are said to represent the three-cornered hat or three-cornered pocket of the villain Haman. In Israel, hamantaschen are called oznei Haman, Haman’s ears.
Some SephardicJews of Spanish descent; sometimes used to describe Jews of North-African and Middle-Eastern descent. The term also describes the customs and practices of these Jews, often in comparison to those of Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jews. Jews have a custom of wrapping hard-boiled eggs in pastry dough in the shape of an animal or a Purim character. These folares are baked, displayed, and later eaten as a Purim treat.
Bean dishes, such as humous, are also eaten to remind us that, according to legend, Esther ate a vegetarian diet while in the court, in order to avoid eating non-kosher food.*
*This and additional Purim foodways information is found in Teaching Jewish Holidays: History, Values, and Activities, by Robert Goodman (Denver, CO: A.R.E. Publications, 1997).