Why 2 Months of Adar?

Image: The Gezer Calendar, a 10th c. BCE Jewish calendar (from approximately the time of Solomon.) via Wikimedia, some rights reserved.

If you have been looking at a Jewish calendar for this year, you may have noticed something odd. This year, 5779, has TWO months of Adar.

The Jewish calendar requires a bit of adjustment every few years to keep the seasons aligned with our lunar calendar. The most obvious form of adjustment are the years when we adjust by adding a month to the calendar. This year is one of those years.

When we add a month, we add a month of Adar, and instead of giving it a new name, we call it Adar I, or Adar Aleph. The regular month of Adar is Adar II, or Adar Bet.

My first question when I learned this was, “Do we get two Purims?” Alas, or maybe fortunately, we do not celebrate Purim twice. The holiday of Purim will be celebrated in Adar Bet, at sundown on March 20, 2019 this year.

However, Adar itself has special qualities, as this passage from the Talmud teaches:

Rav Yehuda, son of Rav Shmuel bar Sheilat, said in the name of Rav: Just as when Av begins one decreases rejoicing, so too when the month of Adar begins, one increases rejoicing.

B. Ta’anit 29a

Adar is traditionally understood to be a lucky, happy month. So in a leap year like this one, our joy is doubled. Thus, on Tuesday I shall wish everyone a happy Rosh Chodesh (new month) of Adar I, to be followed next month by another happy month of Adar II.

Happy Adars!

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rabbiadar

Rabbi Ruth Adar is a teaching rabbi based in San Leandro, CA. She has many hats: rabbi, mom, poodle groomer, and ham radio operator K6RAV. She blogs at https://coffeeshoprabbi.com/ as the Coffee Shop Rabbi.

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