The Hebrew month of Adar began with the new moon on Thursday evening, February 11, 2021. Adar is considered a time when happiness increases. I’m working on this notion by appreciating the many fine moments that arise each day.
- Seeing ten Brant geese for the first time this year, gently honking to each other while munching bright green seaweed offshore.
- Walking with my loving husband, Todd, through our urban forests and streets.
- Hearing our eldest son say that he’s glad he lives in the same city as we do.
- Experiencing joy as a bald eagle soars high over our neighborhood.
And that’s just me. Worldwide, on the 13th day of this joyous month (February 25, 2021), Jewish people celebrate a wild and crazy holiday called Purim (check out Miriam Bialik’s video on the subject, it’s really fun). Listening to a story featuring a brave woman and a silly king is key. So is sharing treats with friends and funds with people in need. Getting just drunk enough so we can’t tell the difference between the blessed good guy and the evil bad guy is optional and age dependent. So is wearing masks just for fun. Can you imagine it?
One of our local synagogues invited congregants to create short videos called Purim Spiels highlighting what we’ve learned over the pandemic with a little tongue and cheek thrown in. Here’s mine, featuring a mask I made a couple Adars ago with Rabbi Hanna Tiferet Siegel, an inspiring teacher and composer. Rabbi Hanna celebrates Rosh Chodesh, the new moon which begins each Hebrew month, with a group of women by Zoom during the pandemic, in person before and after.
Thursday February 11 is also New Years Eve for people all over the world who celebrate Spring Festival. Here’s a lively legend I recorded that helps explain how some of the traditional practices of Lunar New Year first arose. It offers wise council on how to counteract the ravaging effects of time by celebrating the moment. I received this story from our youngest son, Raviv, while he was learning Mandarin at our local university.
Raviv’s mother-in-law, who grew up in a tiny farming village in Northern China, cried when she talked on-line with her kids about Spring Festival because she knew it wouldn’t be the same this year. Thankfully, in the end, she enjoyed the family’s on-line celebrations. Thinking of everyone separated from family at this time as I recorded this ancient story, I shared a Jewish teaching about how to transcend loss through memory and imagination.
Whether you revel in the joy of Purim, Spring Festival, Valentines Day and/or the promise of Spring, it’s a time for celebrating life however and whenever we can, b’ezrat Hashem (with Divine assistance).