‘Adar Pisces’

Acrylic and colored pencil drawing on paper, 2023.

Mark Podwal. Credit: Wikipedia.
Mark Podwal
Mark Podwal is an artist in New York. He has illustrated many of the books of his friend Elie Wiesel, and his work can be found in major museums, Jewish and non-Jewish, worldwide.
Adar Pisces
Adar Pisces. Acrylic and colored pencil drawing (2023) by Mark Podwal. Credit: Mark Podwal.

The Talmud says: “When Adar comes, joy is increased.”

The month’s joy is primarily due to the presence within the month of the Jewish holiday of Purim. Adar’s Zodiac sign is Pisces—two fish swimming in opposite directions.

The Midrash, in Esther Rabbah, recounts that the wicked Haman studied the signs of the Zodiac and cast lots to determine during which month Israel would be the most vulnerable to destruction. When the lot fell on the month Adar, Haman confidently rejoiced, knowing that Moses died that month.

And so, Haman believed Adar would be a propitious month for his destructive plot. Noting that Adar’s sign is Pisces, Haman asserted: “Just as fish swallow one another, I will swallow them.”

Yet Haman was unaware that Moses’s birthday was the same day. Because Moses was born in Adar and lived 120 years to the exact same date, this month was lucky for the Jews. Consequently, Haman’s plot failed.

Haman’s other miscalculation was his belief that the sign of Pisces was favorable for his plot. Jewish tradition teaches that fish symbolize good fortune and protection from evil. The Talmud claims that fish are resistant to the Evil Eye because they are covered by the sea, thus out of sight from the eyes of man.

Moreover, fish are the only animals to have survived the Flood. During a Jewish leap year such as this year, there are two Adars. It is the first Adar that has the Zodiac sign of fish. (Adar 1 began the night of Feb. 9 this year.)

The question is what is the Zodiac sign for the second Adar? The answer suggests that the reason that the Hebrew word for fish, dagim, is plural rather than singular dag is because it can represent both months.

Others say that the second Adar does not have a Zodiac sign.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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