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Friday, February 14, 2014

From Darkness to Great Light

Today is Purim Kattan. It’s not the real Purim, because Purim must fall on the last month of the year, yet it still a day of celebration and happiness.

From a seasonal and holiday perspective, Nissan, the month of Pesach, is the first of all months, and Adar is the last of all months. Nissan is the new “Aviv’ or spring; Adar is the opposite end of the spectrum and can sometimes deliver the darkest of winter. (Just look outside.)

Let’s take a deeper look.

Nissan was the month of ‘G-d revealed’. He miraculously took us out of Egypt; He split the sea; He dropped food from Heaven - G-d’s presence was clear. The Talmud tells us that even a plain maidservant had greater prophecy than the Prophet Yechezkel. There was light.

By contrast, in Adar G-d was the month of ‘G-d hidden’. Ester was named after the hiddenness of that time. The Talmud teaches us the the time represents, “And I will certainly hide My face at that time.” It was a time of persecution, Haman and even assimilation.

This is G-ds design.

At every beginning G-d gives us light. That is G-d’s gift to us. But then that light begins to diminish. The light of G-d goes into hiding and is no longer revealed; the ‘revealed G-d’ no longer a given.

As the months pass from Nissan it gets darker. We must find that light within us. As the months get darker and darker we must indeed search deeper and deeper. During Adar, the end of the cycle, G-d is the most hidden. It is at that time, during Adar, that we must delve into the deepest part of our souls and find our absolute best. We, not G-d, must generate the light.

At the end of the calendar year we read, - “For the Jews there was light, happiness and joy.” This light was our light.

The light of Nissan is G-d’s gift to us; the light of Adar is our gift to G-d.

May G-d bless us with a new light, an Ohr Chadash, when He will once again reveal His full light, on the Zion and Jerusalem.

Rav Kook of blessed memory wrote:
על-כן הצדיקים הטהורים אינם קובלים על החושך, אלא מוסיפים אור; אינם קובלים על הרשעה, אלא מוסיפים צדק; אינם קובלים על הכפירה, אלא מוסיפים אמונה; אינם קובלים על הבערות, אלא מוסיפים חכמה.

’The truly righteous do not complain about darkness; they add light. They don’t complain about evil; they add justice. They don’t complain about heresy; they add faith. They don’t complain about ignorance; they add wisdom.’

(A synopsis of a small part of the Keynote address at the Shappel’s 36th anniversary Dinner in Jerusalem.)

Rabbi Yaacov Haber

Posted on 02/14 at 12:58 PM • Permalink
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Meet Rabbi Yaacov Haber

Rabbi Yaacov HaberRabbi Haber has been a leading force in Jewish Outreach for the past 25 years. A founding trustee of AJOP, the Association of Jewish Outreach Professionals, he was the founder and director of the Torah Center of Buffalo from 1980-1990 while serving as a community rabbi in Buffalo. From Buffalo he and his family traveled to Melbourne, Australia where as a project of Kollel Bais HaTalmud he founded the Australian Institute of Torah, a national outreach and adult education program. He directed that program from 1990-1995, at which time he was sought out as National Director of Jewish Education for the Orthodox Union in the United States where he created the Internationally acclaimed and highly successful "Pardes Project."

In addition to his duties at the OU, in 1996 he replaced Rabbi Berel Wein as the spiritual leader of Congregation Bais Torah in Monsey, NY. In keeping with the position of Congregation Bais Torah in the Monsey community, Rabbi Haber was involved in issues involving the greater Monsey community, and counseled hundreds of individuals in the surrounding area.

Rabbi Yaacov Haber is the founder and driving force behind TorahLab. Through TorahLab, Rabbi Haber is bringing together educational and media specialists to create dynamic learning experiences which will be accessible to adults of all backgrounds and levels. Rabbi Haber has published numerous articles and books and is a sought after international lecturer.

Rabbi Haber and his family are presently living in Ramat Beit Shemesh where he is the Rabbi of Kehillas Shivtei Yeshurun.

Rabbi Haber can be contacted at yhaber@torahlab.org