This year 5780/2020, the lunar month of Adar starts with the new moon at the end of February and continues through its lunar phases until the new moon of Nisan, at the end of March.
Each lunar month in the Hebrew calendar is associated with a sign of the zodiac: Nisan with Aries, Iyar with Taurus, etc. The Jewish kabbalah discusses these months and the signs of the zodiac assigned to each.
An important keyword is associated with each lunar month and sign. For example, Nisan or Aries has the keyword, in Hebrew, chaim or life – as when we toast our friends l’chaim!, ‘to life!’. Life is a fitting word for Nisan, in the Land of Israel, the month of spring and nature’s renewal.
The keyword for Adar or Pisces is oyev or enemy. At first glance, it is not at all apparent why the end of the zodiac is associated with a word that denotes hostility and hate.
Each sign is also associated with a tribe of the 12 tribes of Israel. Pisces is associated with Joseph. In Genesis, we learn that Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and taken to Egypt. After going through many hardships, Joseph miraculously rose to become the main counselor to the pharaoh, the ruler of the land. Ultimately, Joseph, by holding an important position in the royal court, was able to rescue his brothers and their families from famine and starvation. In this there is a parallel to Queen Esther, also an important personage in a royal court, the queen of the Persian king, who saved her brothers and sisters from annihilation as is related in the story of Purim.
Purim is celebrated in the lunar month of Adar and as indicated by the story of Queen Esther, it is a time for overcoming adversity. It is the story of how the enemy Haman was defeated by Queen Esther. Joseph and Esther personify the power of self-sacrifice in order to benefit others and overcome hate and adversity. Their stories are associated with Adar and Pisces, the end of the lunar year, a month and sign that symbolize facing troubles and overcoming the enemy. And, then, the joy of Purim replaces the fear of defeat or as Shakespeare says: “All’s well the ends well”.