Masks and Hidden Holiness

Hodesh Adar Tov!
Happy New Moonth!
Entry into Adar amplifies joy.
משנכנס אדר מרבין בשמחה

Anxiety is high. Tempers are short. There is a lot at stake. The democratic nominees are debating. Wisdom is being shared, yet the tone is argumentative in preparation for what is yet to come. The peak excitement of the solstice has passed some time ago, daylight hours are increasing and the weather is still cold. Even so, it is cold. Weather has become more extreme over the last ten years in many locations including my hometown. The cold months are colder than ever experienced and temperatures soar to new heights in Summer time.

Rabbi Jonathan Omerman taught me that distance from Source of All is greatest this time of year. Purim customs are a response to a sense of distance from Source. It is helpful to contemplate what is behind the mask, especially when Holiness feels hidden.

Many traditions share similar practices during this time of year like Mardi Gras and St Patrick’s Day masks and silliness. The mask is an ongoing theme this time of year. Below you will find teachings on masks this time of year.

1. Megilat Esther is read on Purim. It is a bawdy story of an all-powerful indulgent king in old Persia and the beautiful young Jewish woman who is selected to be his queen from amongst all the maidens in the empire. Through what a series of what seem to be random circumstances she faces evil head on and saves the Jewish people from destruction.
Is it fate? Is it chance? What is happening beneath the surface?
There are many layers moving behind this beloved tale. For example, the words “Megilat Esther” translate as “revelation of secrets”. “Megilat” – shares a root with galeh – to revel and “Esther” has the same root as “seter” secret. That is just a beginning.

Waiting, Yearning for redemption and revelation. It’s like playing “Peek a boo, is it you”?

2. Sefer Yetzirah teaches that when the letter Kuf ק was tied to Keter (Crown – through which the light of the Infinte nourished what is manifest) and through it Adar was created in time, and Dag; The Pisces fish was created in space.

The upcoming month is Nissan. It is the month of Passover pointing to the redemption, revelation and holiness. The letter through which The Light of Keter flowed and brought Nissan forward is ה.

Look at the letter kuf ק, can you see how it is a mask that can hide the holy ה.

3. Every month has a unique permutation of the Four Letter Name associated with it. This is called the Name of 12. The Holy Ari’s torah asks why it is that prayers remain unanswered? He teaches that it is because we do not use the propert Name when praying. The practice is lost. Using this Name (especially on Rosh Hodesh musaf Amidah) is a key into the Divine Presence this and every month. The permutation according to Rabbi Yoseph Ashkenazi is ההוי.

May each of us pause, develop, to refine the “super power” of gazing deeply and seeing behind facade.
May we all be blessed to cultivate joy. It always helps.
More Joy, Less Oy!

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