Shabbat Shalom, fellow members of the ‘Gev! I know this Shabbat we unfortunately do not have the luxury of spending it in preparation to reunite once again, but hey – Spring Subs and SA/TO Wednesday season is just around the corner!!
This weekend we’ll be reading from Parshat Vayakhel, whose text makes lots of references to a parsha we read at the beginning of February, Terumah. But let’s go through it quickly again: God commands us as we wander the desert to construct the Tabernacle and God does not shy away from outlining extensively what he wants in Terumah. In Vayakhel, the ornamentations and decorations God wants done for the construction of the Tabernacle are mentioned again and the Israelites get to work. By the end of this week’s reading, the traveling Tabernacle is finished by the hands and dedication of our own ancestors. Way to go team!
There is definitely much to celebrate at the end of this parsha – what began as a blueprint three weeks back is now the first usable and beautiful Jewish sanctuary. But there is also much to celebrate in the upcoming weeks in the Jewish calendar, as well: Purim! This year’s date for Purim is Sunday, March 16, or the 14th of Adar II. The Roman numerals following Adar aren’t a typo – currently, we are in the month of Adar I and Rosh Chodesh Adar II is just around the corner in two weeks!
This year in the Jewish calendar, 5774, is actually a leap year, and just like the Gregorian calendar, that means some scheduling changes. Our secular calendar, which follows a solar cycle, is about eleven days longer than the Jewish calendar, which follows a lunar cycle. Some of our biggest and oldest holidays (i.e Sukkot, Passover, Shavuot) are harvest festivals, so back in the olden days these holidays had to align with the proper growth seasons. This can be tricky if the calendar follows the cycle of darkness rather than that of light…The solution was what we’re experiencing right now. Jewish leap years consist of thirteen months rather than twelve. Adding an extra Adar makes sure that the holidays don’t happen when they shouldn’t and happens about every three years.
Thanks to this extra boost in our year, 5774 is a year 384 days in length – instead of a Leap Day, right now we get a Leap Month! But which Adar is the “extra”? That’s for you to decide.
Enjoy this Shabbat and the others remaining in this preliminary Adar. Don’t fret if you don’t have any costume ideas yet – there’s a whole Adar to finish before you have to decide!
HaNegev Regional Religion/Education Vice President 2013-2014