Wednesday, February 10, 2016

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The Mazel of Chodesh Adar

by Reb Aharon Rubin, author of Eye to the Infinite at Mystical Paths

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1. The mazal of chodesh Adar is דגים, fish. The word דג is the opposite order of the letters in the aleph-beis, gimmel daled, גד - which the gemora explains, signifies the rich person [the gimmel or goimel] chasing after the reticent poor person [daled or dal] in order to give him tseddokoh.[1]

That these letters are here reversed appears to symbolise the reverse of this scenario: the poor person running towards the giver. Actually, in this case the giver has his ‘back’ to the poor person – i.e. he doesn’t see him coming. This calls to mind the anecdote, that the fish found swallowed within a fish have their head towards its tail – they were are actually swimming towards it, not away from it. This shows that it is not the prey that the fish is running towards, that feeds it. Rather, G-d provides its source from another, hitherto unnoticed, source.

The Midrash actually says that Homon ימש"ו, on seeing that his lots fell on the month of Adar, thought, "Now I shall be able to swallow them, like fish that swallow one another" (Esther Rabba vii.; Targ. Sheni iii). What he didn’t realise is that the fish would actually be swimming towards him and would eventually be the cause of his downfall and demise – עת אשר שליט האדם באדם לרע לו (Koheles 8:9), i.e. Esther, the queen within the palace.

This also shows the futility of relying completely on one’s own cheshbonos. Hence, Purim is named after the lots drawn. It also ties in with Chazal’s saying that this is the mazal of Yosef, who is ‘covered from the eye’, like fish who are beneath water.[2]

2. The Sefer Yetsiroh says המליך אות ק' בצחוק וקשר לו כתר וצירפן זה בזה וצר בהן דגים בעולם ואדר בשנה"(פרק ה') – He made the letter ‘kuf’ king in mirth, bound to it a crown, mixed them one with the other and created with them fish in world and Adar in year. We find the letter kuf has two meanings: in the Gemora Shabbos [ibid.] it stands for kodosh – “holy”, in אותיות דרבי עקיבא it stands for the ‘face’ of הקב"ה that turns away from a רשע. In contrast, elsewhere in the Gemora, its meaning carries a derogatory implication: [3]אדם בפני שכינה כקוף בפני אדם

Perhaps this points to the two contrasting uses of joy. Joy can be used in holiness or in empty-headed frivolity. Our Rabbis tell us that whereas the crying during the Yomim Noroim ‘corrects’ untoward sadness and depression, the joy during Adar, in particular on the days of Purim, corrects untoward joy.[4]

There is a discerning sign to distinguish the sadness, or the joy, that is a mitsvoh. The broken heart – in holiness – always brings to a feeling of inner joy. Conversely, joy of a Mitsvoh, is coloured with longing to aspire higher. Perhaps this is the answer to the apparent contradiction between the Gemora that says,[5]

הוד והדר לפניו עוז וחדוה במקומו והאמר רב פפא אין עציבות לפני הקב"ה שנאמר לא קשיא הא בבתי גואי הא בבתי בראי

and the Zohar that says the opposite.[6] In the ‘inner chambers’, there is never any sadness. But the joy is bound with the longing for that which will be, the higher, purer form of revelation of אז ימלא שחוק פינו.

Similarly, the sadness that is in holiness that is found in the ‘outer houses’ is bound to the true, clear joy of Presence.


[1] שבת פו:

[2] (ב"מ פד.):

"בן פורת יוסף בן פורת עלי עין" - אל תקרי עלי עין אלא עולי עין (רש"י - שאין עין הרע שולטת בהם). רב כהנה אמר מהכא "וְיִדְגּוּ לָרֹב בְּקֶרֶב הָאָרֶץ", מה דגים שבים מכוסים ואין העין שולטת בהם, כך זרעו של יוסף אין העין שולטת בהם. עיין עוד בזוה"ק פ' בלק מאמר הינוקא.

[3] ב"ב, נח:

[4] See for example עטרת ישועה on אדר.

[5] חגיגה ה:

[6] זהר ויצא קס״ג א 'על דא תנינין אין עצבות לפני המקום לפני דייקא כו׳', ועיין בניצוצי זהר שם אות ב׳ ע״ד הגמ׳ חגיגה ה׳ ע״ב הא בבתי גואי הא בבתי בראי ורש״י שם, שהוא מתרץ דדברי הזהר מתאימים עם פירוש רבינו חננאל וע׳׳ע באוצר הכבוד להרמ״ה (נאווידווהר כ״ח רע״די), בסודי רזיא להרקח הל׳ מלאכים ע׳ י״ב, בשושן סודות (קארץ תקמ״ו) נ״ו א, בהפרדס שער מהות והנהגה, פי״ב, ומשם לפלח הרימון להרמ״ע שער ח׳ מהות והנהגה פ״ח, ובעבודת הקודש לר״מ בן גבאי חלק התכלית סנ״ז,

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