This upcoming week begins the month of Adar, the month of Purim. The Talmud tells us that when the month of Adar begins, we increase in our joy. The holiday of Purim has such a profound, joyful effect on the Jewish people, that the entire month carries a special, happy character.
This year is a leap year in the Jewish Calendar. Rather than adding an extra day (like February 29th) we actually add an entire additional month! And the month that is added in every leap year is a second Adar, referred to as Adar 2. That means,in effect, that this year there are sixty days of Adar, the month that we are commanded to be happy! (Practically speaking, we celebrate Purim in the second Adar as opposed to the first Adar.)
There is a concept in the Laws of Kosher, that when a drop of non-Kosher food falls into a large amount of Kosher food, (for instance, a drop of milk falls into a pot of chicken soup), we measure the ratio of kosher versus non-Kosher. If the non-Kosher drop is 1/60 of the total amount of Kosher food, the non-Kosher drop is completely nullified and is absorbed into the Kosher food, no longer posing any problems. (This concept is referred to as “Bitul b’Shishim- Nullification of Sixty.) Thus there are times when a non-Kosher entity (hence something non-holy) can be transformed into holiness! (If the ratio is correct).
In a regular year, there are only thirty days of Adar. However this year we are given sixty day of these special, joy infused days. We can apply this concept, of negativity being nullified in a ratio of sixty, in a spiritual sense! The next two months give us the opportunity to completely nullify any negative thoughts or behaviors, and even transform them to holiness. During the sixty days of Adar, by being joyful and recommitting ourselves to serving G-d, our depression, sadness, anger, and self limitation, can all be “nullified” and redirected to noble causes, and we can become new, spiritually clean people.
Rabbi Akiva Hall