Friday, January 28, 2011

5771: A Double Portion of Mazal

by Rabbi Pinchus Feldman

This Shabbat we bless the new month. As this year is a leap year, there are two months of Adar, the first being Adar I and the second Adar II. Adar is associated with an increase in joy. The Talmud explains that during the month of Adar, Jewish "mazal" (colloquially translated as fortune) is very potent. The mazal (or source of influence) of a Jew refers to the higher levels of his soul, which are connected to the essence of G-d at all times. In Adar, we have the opportunity to draw down an abundance of holy energy through good deeds that are imbued with joy.

Interestingly, our Sages taught that "Israel has no mazal" ("ein mazal l'Yisrael"), meaning that Jews are above being influenced by the stars and planets, which are known as "mazalot." By changing the vowels under the Hebrew letters slightly, "ein mazal l'Yisrael" can be read "Ayin - the Infinite - is the mazal of Israel." The Jewish people receive their influence from G-d from a transcendent level, the transmission of which is particularly powerful in the month of Adar.

The name Adar has several meanings, one of which is cloak or mantel. This is a reference to G-d's compassion For His people, the Jews. The purpose of a garment is to provide us with warmth. In Adar (and Adar II in a leap year), when the holiday of Purim occurs, we experience the warmth and comfort of G-d. A garment also conceals the body of the person who wears it. Similarly, the miracle of Purim was "dressed" in a series of natural events.

The word Adar is a combination of the Hebrew letter "alef" and the word "dar" meaning "G-d dwells." (Just as alef is the initial letter in the alphabet, so too is G-d the "first.") G-d created the earth in order to have a dwelling place in the physical world. Through the study of Torah and the performance of mitzvot, we create an abode for Almighty G-d.

May the positive influence of Adar be expressed in the advent of the true and complete Redemption with Moshiach in the immediate future.

More on Jewish Astrology

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