Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Known as a month of celebration and happiness, as it says in the Megillah, “Vehachodash asher nehepach – the month that was transformed,” stating clearly that the entire month is a month of transformation to joy and happiness.

Accordingly, the Talmud tells us that “when the month of Adar arrives, we increase in joy” to welcome a season of miracles, as this month is fortuitous for the Jewish people.


The Hebrew name “Adar” is related to the word “adir,” which denotes strength and power. The term adir is used to refer to Hashem Himself, who gives power to His people, as it says: “Hashem oz l’eamo yitain – Hashem gives power to His people.”

Adar is the only month in the Jewish calendar that comes back for “seconds.” The Jewish leap year occurs approximately once every three years. In order to assure that the lunar months of the Jewish year stay in sync with the solar calendar, an additional month of Adar is added. Purim is celebrated in the second Adar.

The Talmud tells us that when the evil Haman, villain of the Purim story, wished to destroy our nation, he staged a lottery to determine the most opportune date. When the lot (called a pur, hence the holiday name of Purim) fell in Adar, he rejoiced. What better month to punish the Jews, he thought, than Adar, when Moshe Rabbeinu passed away? Surely, no month could be lower for the Jewish people.

What Haman did not know was that Moshe Rabbeinu was also born in the month of Adar, and that day, the Talmud relates, helped avert the evil decree.

In 1940, on the 9th of Adar II, the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, disembarked at New York Harbor. Fleeing from Nazi Germany and the Holocaust of European Jewry, the Previous Rebbe did not merely seek refuge in America. Instead, he laid the foundation for Chabad’s revolution in the Western Hemisphere. Today Chabad Lubavitch institutions make up more than 30 percent of all shuls in the United States! This day, 9 Adar, is celebrated by Chabad Chassidim around the world.

The mazal (zodiacal sign) for Adar is dagim, fish. Fish are a sign of blessing and fruitfulness. Also, just as fish live in water, the Jewish people thrive when immersed in the Torah, which is compared to life-giving water.

Adar was the last month the Jewish people spent in Mitzrayim before the Exodus. Adar’s joy is so great, in part, because it serves as the opening to an even greater rejoicing: the miracles of Pesach.

Have a happy month!

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Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman is director of the Lubavitch Youth Organization. He can be reached at [email protected].