Adar Class from Judaism and Kabbalah 101
Intro to Class on Adar:
Today I want to go over the story of Purim – the event 2300 years ago – and then discuss the deeper significance of this story and how we can use the lessons from it to apply to our own lives. First we’ll take a look at the many different events that have happened in the month of Adar over the centuries. Then I’ll give an overview of the Purim story itself and tell you some info that you might not already know. After that we’ll take a look at how to open our eyes more to that hidden hand behind the story within our own lives. Last, by looking again at the Tree of Life we will define the top most Sefirah, Keter, in order to talk about how to develop a relationship with the “Compassionate Inner Parent” who is the hidden hand behind everything in our Universe.
Adar is the last month on the Jewish calendar. When the calendar has a leap year, called shanah me’uberet (literally “pregnant year” in Hebrew), it contains two months of Adar. This happens approximately once every three years. It keeps the lunar months of the Jewish calendar in sync with the solar calendar.
Increase in joy:
The Talmud tells us that “when the month of Adar arrives, we increase in joy” – Literally, we are beginning a season of miracles with Passover being the very next month and then Shavuous 49 days later commemorating the giving of the Torah to Moses on Mt Sinai. Accordingly, the Talmud tells us that Adar is a month where unexpected good things happen by chance to the Jewish people. I’ll explain more about joy and happiness and how to achieve it below, by understanding Keter in the Tree of Life.
From Calendar on Chabadbythesea.com:
Adar 1st: "When Adar enters," the Talmud declares, "we increase in joy." For this is "the month that was transformed for them from sorrow to joy, from mourning to festivity" (Esther 9:22) by the great miracle and victory of Purim. Our sages advise that the month of Adar is an auspicious time for the Jewish people, so that if a Jew is faced with a challenging event (i.e., a court case, a medical procedure, etc.) he should endeavor to schedule it during Adar.
Story of purim – 67 yrs after destruction of 1st Temple – Jews had a pretty good life in Babylon which was ruled by Persians during the Purim story. Even the Talmud that we study today was written in Babylon and is called the Babylonian Talmud. Persia was the reigning power in the civilized world at the time and was located in present-day Iran. Persia/Iran is central in many of the prophecies of the coming era of Geulah so it will be interesting to see what happens with Iran in the coming years.
Telling the story using the list of events from the Chabad.org website in italics:
Customs of Celebration:
- We read and hear read, in Hebrew, the story of Esther, a scroll called, “Megillat Esther”. During the reading of the Megillah, we shake “groggers” (noise makers) every time we hear the name, Haman.
- We have parties where children and adults dress up in costume – usually they dress up as one of the two heroes of the story: Esther and Mordechai. But Vashti and Haman are also favorites. In Israel it’s a big holiday like Halloween here.
- We give gifts of kosher food to friends.
- We give money to the poor.
- We eat hamantaschen and drink wine or other alcohol.
- It is a holiday unlike other holidays because we still go to work like any other day of the week.
Deeper Understandings of this holiday:
- Masks – we all have our part to play in the drama of life. It’s important to remember that the masks are not the essence of who we are. When we wear masks, we can usually get in touch with being who we really are.
- Hidden hand – just as the Jewish people no longer had a visible presence of G-d in their Holy Temple, they were given a chance to see how miracles can happen in a hidden way within the laws of nature, rather than breaking the laws of nature. This way we can see that G-d is in charge but that we have our part to play. The miracles of the other holidays came from above, breaking the laws of nature – the parting of the sea, the Torah on Mt Sinai, even Chanukah – but on Purim, it wasn’t G-d reaching down from above, it was us reaching up and being co-creators, seeing/revealing G-d’s presence here within the natural world.
- Purim/Yom ha Kippurim – There is a connection between Yom Kippur and Purim in that they both have the word, “lots” in them. Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year. On it, when the Temple was still here, the priests would cast lots so that they could determine between 2 goats, which would be slaughtered and which would be sent off into the desert. (this is where the word “scapegoat” comes from). So Yom Kippur is called, “Yom ha Kippurim” the day of the lots. But you can translate it also as “a day like (K) Purim”.
- Megillat Esther: which literally means, “revealing what is concealed”, is the only book in Torah that doesn’t have G-d’s name in it. It is said that after the coming of Moschiach, Purim is the only holiday we will still celebrate. And aside from the 5 books of Moses, the only book we will study from will be the Megillat Esther.
- Purim is the only holiday given a Persian name: This brings us back to the original idea of Persia/Iran being a huge player in the coming of Moschiach – for ill, not for good.
- What is it about the throwing of lots that is so essential to the energy we are supposed to tap into on Purim? This is why I liked Tarot so much – if you don’t use it to determine the future, like Haman tried to do, you can enable yourself to tap into and see the hand behind the drama that is in the Hashgacha Pratis – the Divine Providence – of the coincidences and random occurrences of this world. You can begin to uncover hidden meanings and hidden guidance to connect you with the divine will. All info is attained by the randomness of the event of pulling the exact card/symbol that you were meant to reveal. Again, the miracle is within nature itself rather than a miracle that breaks the laws of nature.
Meaning behind Drinking Wine:
In the Talmud "Rava said: It is one's duty levasumei, to make oneself fragrant [with wine] on Purim until one cannot tell the difference between 'arur Haman' (cursed be Haman) and 'barukh Mordekhai' (blessed be Mordecai)" (Babylonian Talmud, Megillah 7b). We absolutely have the opportunity in Adar to get away from our own golus beliefs about ourselves and others so that we can be open to the Higher reality that goes way beyond our own assumptions. In fact, wine in Hebrew equals the same number as the word for secret: Yayin & Sod both equal the number 70 in gematria. So it is said that wine goes in and secrets come out. But which secrets? You must be careful that you allow your g-dly essence to come through and not your hang-ups!
How do we connect more to that Higher Reality? This is the goal of all of life. We bring Geulah by bringing G-d into our mundane existence. I hope show through the Tree of Life how this actually can work within ourselves. I believe that this is the answer to the question of how Adar gives us the energy that enables us to increase in happiness and joy – aside from spring being right around the corner!
Keter – The crown of the Tree of Life is where our closest connection to G-d resides. It represents and contains G-d’s limitless potential along with G-d’s will, desire, faith & pleasure. This is where Chabad Chassidus gives us an unusual understanding of G-d. That this Highest Resource is not only unlimited in all ways – It is even beyond infinite by choosing to be intimately involved with this creation, with us. This is where we get that every one of us is a child of G-d and “loved like an only child”. This is where we can connect to our mission and purpose, in G-d’s will for us, as well as becoming intimately connected to what I call the Compassionate & Nurturing Inner parent. Keter is also the seat of faith.
Tiferet – Remember, Tiferet is in the heart center and in my scheme of understanding the sefirot, represents the Inner child. This is where we can either open to more trust in G-d or become completely crushed by the circumstances of our existence. As a child of G-d, we are placed in this life with talents as well as limitations and challenges – we need to know that both of these things give us our mission and purpose. In Shifra Hendrie’s class I heard that when we are ready to incarnate, we are shown the difficulties of this world and we are affected deeply by the agony present. Then we are asked how we would do things differently if we were involved in these situations. What we come up with as the solution becomes our mission in life. We sign a contract to complete that specific mission but then forget it once we come to this world where things are hidden from us.
Pisces/Adar- The month of Adar is associated with the sign of Pisces. Pisces is the fish. In Kabbalah, the fish is a symbol of the vast, hidden world that we can call the subconscious or superconscious. In Adar, and in spiritual, personal growth, we are to go beyond the surface of this world to reach the essence of who we are and find the deeper world which is hidden.
But we have to be in golus/exile/ego in order to bring us to geulah/redemption/bringing heaven to earth. The exile is what forces us to reach up and remember that we are human and need more than our limited understanding. As we swim in our own limitations, we enable ourselves to see that we need higher guidance.
Inner Child/Nurturing Inner Parent- A child will only feel safe when there’s an adult in charge. We need to be able to have faith that there is a parent in charge. This parent is fully involved in all the details of this world and we are this Parent’s pleasure. There is a will for us to be here and a desire for us to succeed. When we are the most lost, we can attain the level of pleasure, joy and happiness by finding the hidden hand. Nothing happens without that hand willing it. Nothing occurs anywhere that isn’t coordinated by that hand. Every desire we have for pleasure and happiness is really only about one thing: helping us reconnect to the purpose we are here for, the contract we came to fulfill.
In conclusion: Rabbi Yitchak Ginzberg on Adar & Keter: http://www.inner.org/lectures/E68-06A10.php (my italics/underline) “…the Rebbe explains that oil that serves as a source of light is a reference to the atzmut (the essence) of Hashem. The crushing of the olives … reveals …the unknowable head, experienced as pure faith in the Jewish soul. The Rebbe explains that… in order for us to become luminaries of the essence of God, we have to be crushed. It is impossible to reveal this highest source of light in us without being broken, without having a broken heart.”
Baal Shem Tov on Happiness
Purim Megasite: http://www.chabadbythesea.com/holidays/purim/default.htm
Grain-Free Humantaschen recipe: http://www.couldntbeparve.com/2014/03/grain-free-hamentashen/
Fun Song for Purim: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-wxBQGetIs