March 2022 Adar II 5782
We are entering the new moon of the Hebrew month of Adar II. An extra month is added to the Hebrew calendar every seven years to synchronize it with the Gregorian solar calendar. The ancient wisdom of Kabbalah teaches us that it is the month of Adar that is doubled because we can experience the most joy and laughter in this month. It is joy that can create healing and inspire us to find the kernel of sweetness in the midst of our challenging life experience.
As Russian forces invade Ukraine and our country struggles to recover from the Covid pandemic, how can we taste a modicum of joy to keep our spirits high? As I was drinking my morning coffee and watching in horror the tanks roll into Kyiv and Kharkiv from all directions on my TV screen, I received a text from my son. I read that Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine, is the Jewish grandson of the one male survivor of a family of four sons, three of whom were killed during the Holocaust.
This survivor of the Nazi devastation chose to focus his early career on comedy bringing humor and insight to the chaos and corruption around him. It is humor and laughter that can often pierce the veil of falsehoods and reveal the truth beneath the masquerade.
We celebrate the holiday of Purim this month where we unmask those who would do harm. We honor the bravery of Queen Esther who stepped forward to save the Jewish people from destruction. In the Book of Esther, her uncle encourages her action: “Who knows but that you were born for such a time as this!” Who knows if Zelensky or you or I were born for such a time as this, a time to stand our ground and speak truth to power?
As the Israelites left Egypt and were surrounded by danger and deprivation on all sides, the women refused to leave music and dancing, joy and laughter behind them. They trusted they would survive and had their tambourines ready to celebrate on the other side of the Red Sea.
In times of challenge, it’s even more important to tap into the deep velvet void of creativity at the heart of our being and bring forth the beauty and joy of our highest selves. This is what can lead the way through the unknown mystery to the other side of the tumultuous waters. In this month of Adar II, let’s trust in the ancient wisdom and invite joy and laughter into our open hearts.
PS. The photo is of the monument in Kyiv, Ukraine, which commemorates the country’s 1991 independence. The figure at the top is the Slavic Goddess Berehynia, “the protectress of home.” She holds a viburnum branch, the national symbol for women, motherhood, the soul of the nation, and love.