Leap year 5779 is a shana me’uberet (a “pregnant year”) on the Hebrew calendar. During pregnant years we add an extra (13th) month, which is Adar Aleph (also called Adar I or Adar Rishon). Adar Aleph 5779 kicks off February 5 with a two-day Rosh Hodesh, and runs through March 6, making the current year 5779 very pregnant with possibilities. The Talmud says in Ta’anit 29a: “When Adar comes, joy increases.” Count on enjoying an extended double-Adar celebratory season this year.
The Sefer Yetzirah teaches that each one of the 12 constellations (mazalot) correspond to a Hebrew month. During non-leap years and during Adar Bet of pregnant years, Adar is associated with the tribe of Naftali, which we will explore in-depth next month. This month, we ponder the mystery of Adar: the month that sometimes is one, and sometimes split in two. Jewish astrology divides Joseph into two tribes (Ephraim and Menashe, corresponding to Tishrei/Libra and Heshvan/Scorpio, respectively). During pregnant years, Joseph gets his own month: Adar Aleph, the “extra” month, hinted at by Joseph’s name in Hebrew, meaning “HaShem shall increase/add.”
Even though Hodesh Shvat ends February 4th, the Sun in Aquarius overlaps Hodesh Adar Aleph until solar Pisces begins on February 18th, blending the humanitarian, idealistic energies of Aquarius with the compassionate, empathetic and generous qualities of Pisces. The full moon of Adar Aleph on February 19th in clearheaded, rational Virgo (Betulah) stimulates the protective energy of Virgo’s tribal ruler Gad, “a troop.” Virgo’s weapons are analytic discernment, unfeigned humility, and a heart of service to others. Opposite the Sun in spiritual, sensitive Pisces (Dagim), Adar Aleph’s moon-month peaks with the perfect balance of reason and faith.
Adar Aleph 5779 – The “Joseph” month. May joy increase and blessings be added to all of Am Yisrael during this special time!