Today is July 24, 2024 /

Shabbat Shalom ~ Tetzaveh 2024

Shalom WJC Family,

Happy Purim Katan! As a reminder to some and a new fact for others, the Jewish calendar is based on a lunar cycle. We celebrate every new moon (that’s when it cannot be seen at all) as a new month or Rosh Chodesh and we know when the moon is full, it is the 15th of the month. The trouble is, the regular 12 month lunar cycle only has 353, 354, or 355 days per year, while the secular, solar calendar has 365 or 366. That 10-day discrepancy means that every three years we would lose a whole month. Interestingly, this is how the Muslim calendar works and is at least part of why Ramadan moves around so that it can occur in all different months in the secular calendar – it can happen in March (as it does this year), in January, in November….. That varied placement in the secular calendar doesn’t work for Judaism though.

The Torah tells us that Passover falls in the month of Nisan and that it is Chag HaAviv, literally the spring holiday. If we didn’t correct for the lapse between the Hebrew and secular calendars, it wouldn’t be long before Nisan fell in the winter, summer, or fall. As this is a secular leap year, we are familiar with calendar corrections, but the Hebrew calendar is a little more extreme. Instead of adding one day every four years, the Hebrew calendar adds a whole month 7 times in every 19 years – a second month of Adar! If this sounds confusing, it is. It accounts for the wide swing in holiday dates (“The High Holidays are late this year”) and a lot of questions about yahrzeit dates when someone passes away in Adar II (think of a February 29th birthday, but a lot more common). As Purim falls in Adar, it also raised questions for the rabbis about which Adar gets the celebration of Purim, Adar I or Adar II. The answer is Adar II, but Purim’s Hebrew date in Adar I gets a little recognition. It is called Purim Katan or Little Purim, and it is today. So, again, Happy Purim Katan!

Tonight, Purim Katan – a subdued happiness – will be the theme of our Rhythm & Ruach service. Subdued happiness may be the only way we can follow the command to rejoice with the world in the state it is in, so it is a theme worth exploring. I hope you registered for dinner and will join us for the service as well as for the talk to follow with author Liel Leibovitz. See my video in the link below for a teaser about Liel’s thought, topic, and relevance.

Saturday morning we will also have the opportunity to celebrate the auf ruf of Eli Russ and Margo Weill – Mazal Tov to them and to Eve and Mark!

See you in shul,

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