Rosh Chodesh Adar I, 2019, occurred from sundown Feb. 5 to sundown Feb. 7. The theme of Adar is increased joy. This year we get to experience two months of Adar. The first is Adar Alef and is actually the extra month. Adar II, or Adar Bet, includes Purim, and becomes the last Hebrew month in a leap year.
During non-leap years it’s just Adar and it ends the cycle of the year. Hebrew calendar leap years are calculated differently than the every four years on the Gregorian calendar. The Hebrew leap year is calculated in a 19-year cycle with leap years being: 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17, and 19. Math is not my strong suit, and this involves determining which year of the cycle we’re in by finding the remainder of the current Hebrew year, divided by 19. There’s an equation to figure it out and there’s Google, in which we can just look it up.
This is a leap year and we get to increase our joy for an extra month. What would you do if Hashem told you that you’ve been given an extra 30 days of increased joy? Would you argue and complain, waste it, or use it to its fullest?
Our task for Adar I and II, this whole year, and our entire lifetime, becomes increasing our joy. A secret to achieving this lies in the truth that it is up to each one of us to accomplish this. Especially at this time on the Gregorian calendar, people look to others on Valentine’s Day to validate that they are loved, lovable, worthy of being with in a relationship, and special.
Our real challenge is to know ourselves, our worth, our essence as Divine love itself, and discover how we can manifest the qualities of that love in the world around us. We can’t look to others to complete us. There needs to be an inner acknowledgment of talents and gifts with gratitude and appreciation, as opposed to arrogance and self-aggrandizement.
In my psychotherapy practice, I ask clients all of the time, “What makes you happy? What would make your heart sing?” It’s always a difficult question for people to answer. I believe that not enough time is spent considering it.
Howard Washington Thurman was an African-American author, philosopher, theologian, educator, and civil rights leader. He is quoted as saying, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” When you are aligned with what makes you come alive, you feel joyful. You radiate that joy and the world becomes a better place.
Earl Nightingale was an American radio speaker – the voice of the 1950s “Sky King” – and an author who focused mostly on human character development, motivation, and meaningful existence. He believed that “We become what we think about,” so he encouraged others to take charge of their thoughts, because our thoughts drive our decisions, which influence our behaviors, and affect our mood. He encouraged people to live conscious lives in which we choose what we think about, give our time and energy to, and let into our awareness. He proposed that we can change our lives at any time, but that we must set an intention to do so or it won’t happen.
Philosopher Alan Watts asked his students, “What would you do if money were no object?” He suggested that far too many people die without having lived.
Mary Oliver, an American poet who passed away Jan. 17, posed the question: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” I would ask you to sit with this question and meditate on the answer.
Meditation Focus: What makes you come alive? What would you do differently if you viewed life as the enchanted journey it is intended to be? What are you willing to change to view it that way? That’s the task of Adar.