Did you know that Joseph had 11 sisters? I didn’t either, but the tour director of Nile Hero Cruises insisted on it on Thursday night at the Grades 4 & 5 Class Concert. A slight argument broke out on the cruise deck and quickly the sisters went back to being brothers with a fast costume change.
Silly? I hope so because today is the start of Adar I, the first of two months in the Jewish calendar dedicated to silliness. Our fifth grade play was the perfect kick off to a season where we are encouraged to increase our happiness. This is a tall order, particular this week in northeast Ohio with frigid temperatures and wintery gray skies.
Read for good news? This year we get an extra month to help us build up to Purim level happiness and silliness. Due to the complexities of keeping the lunar-based Jewish calendar in sync with the solar year, we add a full month into the calendar to make this a leap year. Think of Adar I as a month long February 29 that occurs seven out of every nineteen years instead of every four years. Confused? Don’t worry. Just know that these calculations keep Passover from being a winter holiday.
Being marbim b’simcha (increasing our happiness) is just one of the mitzvot that we focus on as we prepare for Purim (which won’t happen until Adar II, so don’t worry if you haven’t finalized your costumes yet). In addition to hearing the Megillah read, we give two different kinds of gifts. The first, matanot l’evyonim, are gifts to those in need. Through these gifts, we enable others to approach Purim with similar joy to us. You will be hearing more from us in the next few weeks on how to join Kehillat Schechter in giving matanot l’evyonim.
The other kind of gift are mishloach manot (gift baskets). We have a tradition here at Schechter (which I am looking forward to joining) of giving every family baskets of treats. In the past, we have purchased hamantaschen for these. But no longer.
Starting this Sunday at 9 AM, you and you and you are invited to come roll out some dough, fill it, pinch the corners, and bake tasty hamantaschen. We’ll freeze them until it’s time to put those Mishloach Manot together and they will be delicious. Come. Roll. Learn. And even play a little bingo! Watch your emails next week for a link for how to order these fabulous mishloach manot.
There are no mitzvot that specifically say we are required to attend a Purim Bash, but it sure does sound like a great way to increase our happiness. If you haven’t already, mark your calendar for the Purim Bash on Saturday night, March 8. Invitations will be in your mailbox next week. A night of drinks, music, and even me playing basketball…I’ll tell you more as we get further into Adar!
For now, go do something silly and remember to smile.
Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov (Happy Adar)!

Dr. Ari Yares

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