The Jewish calendar operates on a lunar cycle, whereas the Gregorian calendar is based on a solar cycle. This is the reason why it seems like Jewish holidays like Rosh Hashanah or Passover come at different times every year. When we enter a new month, it is called Rosh Chodesh, which literally means “the head of the month.” A few days ago it was Rosh Chodesh Adar, the beginning of the Jewish month of Adar. Adar is a special month because of the holiday of Purim, which takes place on the 14th day of the month. Purim celebrates how a plot to kill all the Jews in Persia was thwarted, thanks to Queen Esther, who hid her Judaism from the king. The story of Purim is beautiful, and it is one of my favorite holidays.
Purim is celebrated by people dressing up in costumes and reading the story of Esther. The costumes and parties that take place in synagogues and other Jewish communal spaces have been likened to Halloween, but those are really the only similarities.
Because of the holiday of Purim, Adar is considered a particularly auspicious month for the Jewish people. The Talmud (the body of Jewish law) commands that “when the month of Adar arrives, we increase in joy” and says that Adar is an especially lucky month for the Jewish people. It is even said that some Jewish lawyers try to take on difficult cases during this month because the chance of their success is much greater.
“When the month of Adar arrives, we increase in joy” is something I try to embody every year. I try to believe in myself more, notice the small things, and express my gratitude more. This is a month for miracles, and I try to remind myself that even the mundane is miraculous.
Over the past few days, the internet became frenzied with reports of a planned “Day of Hate,” meant to take place on Saturday, Feb. 25. Several of the Jewish groups I am in warned of this, saying that Jews in especially populated places like New York and Chicago should be wary on this day. It felt not unlike the story of Purim, wherein it was decreed that, for a period of days, the people of Persia could harm and kill Jews. But, just like in the Purim story, the Jewish people fought back. Though this time it was not with weapons. This time, hate was fought with increasing joy. Specifically, increasing Jewish joy. Jewish communities in the US turned Feb. 25 into a day of unity, a day in which Judaism and Jewish pride were celebrated.
This, too, is a miracle. Rather than cowering and hiding, Jewish communities increased their joy and pride. In the face of hate, the Jewish people once again persevered and did not back down. Especially during the month of Adar, it feels only right that this was the response. When hate rears its ugly head, we must increase our joy and be brave and proud of who we are.
Hadass Galili is a senior studying political science pre-law at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Tell Hadass by tweeting her at @HadassGalili.