Today is Rosh Chodesh Adar II. Last month I wrote to you about the spiritual qualities of Adar 1 – self-forgiveness and preparation. Adar II is different.
Please bear with some brief Kabbalah background information: In Kabbalah, the four letter name of God – Y-H-V-H can be arranged in different permutations (e.g. Y-H-H-V or V-H-H-Y) representing different mystical qualities. There is a particular permutation associated with each month of the year and that mystical qualities reigns during that month. For example, Kislev is associated with V-Y-H-H. When all the numerical qualities of these letters are added up for each of the 12 months of the year (e.g. Y=10, V=6), the total is 312, the numerical equivalent of the word – Chodesh – which means “month” and is also the same word as “new” and “renew.” (Bnei Yissaschar, Nissan 1)
I am not a kabbalist, so I cannot explain what the mystical qualities are and how they relate to these letters. The interesting thing to me is that the month beginning today – Adar II – has no particular letter combination associated with it. Rather, we are taught to meditate on ALL the letter permutations together from all 12 months as the mystical quality that reigns in Adar II. To me, this means that Adar II is a type of “super-month” that integrates all the different qualities together. Given that the numerical equivalent of the all the months equals the root letters for the words “new” and “renew” I think these qualities are key to this month.
Rebbe Nachman of Breslov (d. 1810) hints that in the current era Adar and Purim are actually the real time of beginnings (and not Nissan and Pesach, which in the Torah is called the “first month”). Purim, with its upside-down nature and call to go beyond what we know and how we usually present ourselves to the world, is a time of molting and shedding the old for something new. What quality, behavior, or attitude do you want to shed? What do you want to emerge in its place? This month is a time for this kind of inquiry into renewal.
May our experience of the beauty and hiddenness of Purim – the Esther story, the gifts of food and money we give to each other and those in need, the joyous meal – may these all play a role in helping us birth something new to develop in the months to come.