Chapter: 14 – The Month of Adar

01. When Adar Arrives We Increase Our Joy

The Sages said, “When Av arrives we curtail [our] joy, and when Adar arrives we increase [our] joy” (Ta’anit 29a). In saying this, the Sages teach us that nothing happens by chance and that every season has its own character … Continue reading

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02. The Four Parshiyot

The Sages instituted the public reading of four Torah passages (parshiyot) in addition to the weekly Torah portion: Parashat Shekalim, Parashat Zakhor, Parashat Para, and Parashat Ha-ĥodesh. We read each of the latter three parshiyot on a Shabbat during the … Continue reading

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03. Leap Years and the Added Month of Adar

It is well known that the Jewish months are fixed by the lunar cycle, whereas years follow the solar cycle, because Pesaĥ must always be in the springtime, as the Torah says, “Observe the month of Aviv (spring) and offer … Continue reading

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04. The Three Mitzvot Concerning the Obliteration of Amalek

Three mitzvot in the Torah relate to Amalek. The first is a positive commandment to remember what Amalek did to us, as the Torah says: “Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey, as you left Egypt” (Devarim 25:17). … Continue reading

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05. The Mitzva to Wipe Out Amalek

The mitzva to destroy Amalek is primarily incumbent upon the people of Israel as a whole. Indeed, the Sages taught that the people of Israel were commanded to fulfill three mitzvot upon entering Eretz Yisrael: first, to appoint a king; … Continue reading

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06. Parashat Zakhor

The Sages instituted the reading of Parashat Zakhor once a year in order to fulfill the Torah commandment to remember and not forget the evil deeds of Amalek. One is viewed as having forgotten about Amalek only if a year … Continue reading

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07. Are Women Obligated to Hear Parashat Zakhor?

According to most poskim, women are not obligated in the mitzva of remembering Amalek, because this mitzva is connected to the mitzva of annihilating Amalek. Since women are not commanded to wage war, they do not need to remember what … Continue reading

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08. Can an Amalekite Save Himself or Convert to Judaism?

Even though the Torah commands us to wipe out the descendants of Amalek, if an Amalekite agrees to observe the seven Noahide laws, he no longer has the status of an Amalekite, and one may not kill him. The seven … Continue reading

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09. Ta’anit Esther

The custom of all Jewry, since the geonic period, is to fast on the thirteenth of Adar in commemoration of the fasts that Esther observed before approaching King Aĥashverosh to annul the decree against the Jewish people (Esther 4:16) and … Continue reading

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10. Commemoration of the Half-Shekel

People customarily give charity in the month of Adar in commemoration of the half-shekel that each individual would donate to the Temple, in Adar, to fund public offerings. The best time to give this charity is immediately before Minĥa on … Continue reading

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