Adar and the signs of the Zodiac
By Lloyd Krane
Have you ever noticed that the signs of the Zodiac correspond to the Jewish holidays? Well they do. Even though the 'English' names of the astrological signs have Greek names, yet they relate to the Jewish months.
Aries the ram corresponds to the Hebrew month of Nissan. In Hebrew it is called Teleh, the lamb. This corresponds to the Jewish holiday of Passover which features the famous Pascal lamb.
Libra, the sign of the scales or balance corresponds to the month of Tishre, the time of Rosh Hashanah, the great day of judgement for the entire world.
Gemini the twins are during the time of the month of Sivan durring which the Ten Commandments were given at Mount Sinai in two tablets.
Adar, the time of Purim, has the zodiac sign of Pisces, the two fish. Interestingly enough, Adar is the only month that comes two times in one year. It is the Jewish leap year month that come seven times in a nineteen year cycle. Perhaps we can understand now why the fish sign is a double sign with two fish.
But why fish?
One reason given is that Moses was born and died on the seventh of Adar. His was cast into the water after the Egyptians decreed death to all Hebrew babies and he was 'fished' out of the water by Pharaoh's daughter.
Other's liken the Jews to fish. Fish live underwater, their natural habitat. If they leave their environment, they soon will die. Jews who leave the environment of Torah study and observance begin to wither away from Judaism and die spiritually.
Yet the water protects the fish and they are immune from most of nature's tragic events. So too the Jews, when they immerse themselves in the sea of the Talmud, they are protected, but when they leave it, they begin to suffer the natural occurrences of the world.
The signs of the Zodiac and the constellations have long been recognized by Jewish scholars as having a place in G-d's creation. When G-d created the world He gave power and influence to the constellations in order that the world events be directed through them. Unfortunately, early in history man recognized the power that the constellations (mazel in Hebrew) possessed and so men began to worship the stars, seeing them as the ultimate source of life force in the world.
The sages declared that the Jews do not have a mazel. This means that whereas all the nations of the world are under the dominion of the constellations of the zodiac, the Jews remain under the every watching eye of G-d, the creator of the constellations. Hence we have seen greater and mightier nations come into prominent positions upon the stage of the world and then completely disappear. Yet the Jews, in spite of all their human (and sometimes inhumane) suffering through out the two thousand year exile from our land, have managed to continue and to prosper. This is because G-d has promised us His special protection as long as we remain faithful to Him, His Torah and commandments.
The word 'mazel' is used to mean fortune. When ever there is a 'simcha,' a joyous event, the words, mazel tov is heard. Mazel Tov is comparable to congratulations, but really means that there is a good mazel, a good fortune. In saying mazel tov, one Jew is recognizing that G-d has blessed his friend with good fortune.
Adar is the luckiest time of the year for the Jew. If a Jew must appear in court, it is considered the best time to appear. It is a propitious time to begin new business and plans. In short, it is such a good month, that we add a second Adar one right after the first Adar. That is why the sign of the zodiac has two fishes.
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For more articles on Purim, see our Purim Archives
from the February 2008 Edition of the Jewish Magazine