10-23 Adar II, 5779
17-30 March '19
Attributes of the month of Adar: Ruling permutation of the letters of HAVAYAH are HEH-HEH-YUD-VAV contained in the final letters of four of the Hebrew words in Genesis 49:11, eeroH velashrekaH bniY athonO, "his foal..., and his ass's colt unto the choice vine". The month's corresponding letter is: KUF; Human attribute: LAUGHTER; Body Part: SPLEEN; Tribe: NAFTALI; Constellation: DAGIM (Pisces).
• When Adar arrives, we maximize SIMCHAH •
Sunday 17 March / 10 Adar II
Preparing for Purim
For maximum enjoyment of the supreme holiness of the coming days of Purim this coming Wednesday night-Friday March 20-22, plan ahead where you and all your family will hear Megillat Esther. Set aside money for Matanot La-Evyonim, "Gifts to the Poor" and other charitable contributions on Purim. Prepare your Mishlo'ach Manot, portions of ready-to-eat foods to be sent to your friends, and plan your Purim feast.
"And you shall guard your souls very much" (Deut. 4:15)
Parents: Please do not allow your children to throw firecrackers, smoke cigarettes, get drunk or engage in other dangerous antics during the Purim season.
Sunday night-Monday 17-18 March / 11 Adar II
Today is the yahrzeit of Rabbi Chayim Yosef David Azulai, the "Chida" 1724-1806.
Wednesday 20 March / 13 Adar II
The Fast of Esther
We fast today in commemoration of the fast called by Queen Esther in face of Haman's decree to exterminate the Jews. The fast commences at dawn. One who must eat prior to the dawn in order to fortify himself for the fast should state his intention to do so before going to sleep the night before.
After the afternoon Minchah prayer it is customary to give three halves of the coin that is the basis of the local currency to charity in memory of the annual half-shekel contributed by every Israelite in support of the Temple services.
Wednesday night 20 March / 14 Adar II
Throughout the world (except in Jerusalem, the city of Shushan in Persia and certain other ancient walled cities) Megillat Esther, the Scroll of Esther, is read in the Synagogue directly following the evening service. Listening intently to the Megillah in the Synagogue is like Kabbalat HaTorah, Receiving the Torah. The Al Hanisim prayer of thanksgiving for the Purim miracle is added in the blessing of Modim in all three Amidah prayers on Purim as well as in the second blessing of Birkhat HaMazon (Grace after Meals).
It is appropriate to wear festive clothing for the Synagogue services, and to eat a more festive meal than usual on Purim night, although the main Purim feast should be eaten on Purim day.
Thursday 21 March / 14 Adar
After the Shacharit Amidah prayer, the portion in Exodus 17:8-16 describing the war against Amalek is read from the Torah scroll, followed by the morning reading of Megillat Esther.
Gifts of money to the poor -Matanot La-Eviyonim - should be given to at least two poor people, ideally on Purim morning itself. One should also send Mishlo'ach Manot, portions of at least two different kinds of ready-to-eat foods, to at least one friend, and preferably to more. These mitzvot cause love to reign among all Israel.
The main Purim feast should be eaten during the day. It is good to study some Torah before the feast. It is appropriate to start studying the Laws of Pesach since it is customary to commence the study of the laws of the coming festival thirty days in advance.
Take full advantage of the supreme grace that dwells amidst the great joy of the Purim festivities to offer many prayers for everything you need and yearn, and to shower your dear ones and friends with abundant blessings. Many Breslover Chassidim allocate special times on Purim night and during the day for personal prayer (hisbodedus). Just as it is a mitzvah for us to give something to all who stretch out their hands to us on Purim, so G-d answers the prayers of all who stretch out their hands to Him on Purim.
Thursday night-Friday 21-22 March / 15 Adar
The Purim observances and festivities that were celebrated yesterday
in all the "Prazot" (unwalled habitations) are today celebrated in Jerusalem, Shushan (Persia) and certain other ancient walled cities, the "Mukafin".
Shushan Purim is also marked in the Prazot by not saying Tachanun in the
daily prayers and by drawing the Purim spirit into the rest of the
As today is Erev Shabbat, eve of the Sabbath, "The day is short and the labor is abundant..." The main Purim feast should be eaten during the day allowing sufficient time to prepare for the coming Shabbat. It is good to study some Torah before the feast.
night-Saturday 22-23 March / 16 Adar
Shabbat Parshat TZAV
The Torah reading is TZAV, Leviticus 6:1-8:36, setting forth the laws of the sacrificial rituals in the Temple.
In the month of Adar Israel's power is so great that even with the breath of their mouths alone all the harsh judgments and bad spirits are sweetened so that they hold no sway at all in the world.
Sunday night-Monday 24-25 March / 18 Adar II
Today is the yahrzeit of Rabbi Alexander Zisskind (d. 1794), author of Yesod VeShoresh HaAvodah giving detailed explanations of all the prayers and Jewish Shabbat and festival observances.
Monday night-Tuesday 25-26 March / 19 Adar II
Yahrzeit of Rabbi Yosef Chayim Zonnenfeld (1849-1932), Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem.
Wednesday 27 March / 20 Adar
This was the day when Choni HaMe'agel drew a circle around himself on the ground and refused to move out of it until his prayer for rain was answered (Megillat Ta'anit, Bavli Ta'anit 19a). Please pray for badly needed rains in Israel. This was also the day when King Uzziah of Judah was smitten with leprosy when he entered the Sanctuary to burn incense, and Isaiah had his first vision on the same day (Isaiah ch. 6).
Wednesday night-Thursday 27-28 March / 21 Adar II
Yahrzeit of Reb Elimelech of Lyzhensk (1717-87), brother of Reb Zusia, outstanding Chassidic rebbe, author of the work No'am Elimelech and brother of Reb Zusia of Anipol.
Thursday night-Friday 28-29 March / 22 Adar II
Yahrzeit of Rabbi Yechiel Michel Epstein (1829-1908), author of Aruch HaShulchan tracing the origins of all the laws and customs in the Shulchan Aruch law-code to their sources with clear analysis of the legal decisions of all the leading classical authorities.
Friday night-Saturday 29-30 March
/ 23 Adar II
Shabbat Parshat SHEMINI
Shabbat Mevarchin: Blessing the coming New Moon
Torah reading: Parshas SHEMINI (Leviticus 9:1-11:47) describing the induction of Aaron and his sons into the priesthood and giving the laws of kosher and unkosher species of animals, birds and fish etc.
Special additional reading: Parshat PARAH, Numbers 19:1-22 dealing with the laws of the Ashes of the Red Heiffer and purification from defilement from the dead. This is in memorial of the ritual purification of the people in preparation for going up to the Temple on the coming festival of Pesach. Special Haftara: Ezekiel 36:16-38 describing the consolation and purification of Israel at the end of days.
This Shabbat after the Torah reading we bless the coming month of Nissan, month of Redemption. The Molad (junction of the moon and the sun) will be on Friday April 5 at 1:25 and 17 chalakim a.m. Rosh Chodesh Nissan will be on Shabbat, Friday night-Saturday 5-6 April. May it come to us and to all Israel for good!
23 Adar was the first of the seven days of inauguration of the Sanctuary and the Priests by Moses in the wilderness prior to the dedication of the Sanctuary on 1 Nissan.
In our time, these days are auspicious for preparing ourselves for the coming "New Year" on Shabbat 8-9 April, 1 Nissan, a time of spiritual and physical renewal.
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