Unmasking Purim

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Adar is a season to celebrate the hidden or masked miracles. Adar means “strength” and the associated letter is the kuf, which symbolizes the masquerade. A parallel was drawn in the story of Purim in the book of Esther when a miracle happened and God was not even mentioned. (The root of Esther in Hebrew is hester, meaning “hidden.”) God was entirely central to the story, yet his presence was not clearly written into it.

The events he orchestrated were covered with many layers of seeming coincidences, political schemings, and natural causes and effects. It’s up to us to see and attribute it to God or to write it all off as luck. Throughout the Bible, we have story after story of dramatic rescues: seas parting, mountain tops on fire, plagues descending on enemies, and so much more. All these clearly show the hand of God. But other moments might seem all too common, when God is saying, “I am here now, just as I always have been and always will be here for you. Not just when the sea splits or when my presence overwhelms you, but when you choose to see me.”

Purim, celebrates the story of Esther, yet there is a big difference between wearing a mask and being hidden. Think of the Mardi Gras masks that come out during the same season as Adar. They are brilliant attention-getting devices that reveal the fact that you are hiding who you really are. Your masks are a barrier to intimacy with people and with God.

For a time, Esther needed to conceal her identity; however, she also could not have fulfilled her destiny without revealing who she really was. Timing is everything.

This is a time to see and show your true identity. Freedom and joy are contingent on you being you. You can only hide behind a conditioning of showing others what you believe is acceptable for so long. Come out, come out!

Adar 2

Because the lunar months are a few days shorter than our solar months, the Hebrew month start dates dance throughout our Gregorian months, moving back and forth between the same two months or so every few years. To keep the Hebrew calendar aligned with the physical seasons (spring, summer, fall, winter), every few years there is a leap month. 

With the solar calendar, we have the leap day of February 29th every four years. With the Hebrew calendar, there is the leap month of a second Adar. The Hebrew leap years follow what is called a Metonic cycle, meaning that leap years occur seven times within a nineteen-year cycle. This works out to about every two-three years on years 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17, and 19. In 2022 we are in the eleventh year of the Metonic cycle.

These years we get a double portion of all things Adar! Adar 1 is known as a pregnant month and Purim is celebrated in Adar 2 to properly connect with Passover. So double down on the joy, taking off your masks, and letting your true identity shine! And we’ll definitely be making double batches of our Hamantaschen cookies too!

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