The Jewish calendar is composed of lunar months and solar seasons. Since twelve lunar months amount to 354 days, and solar years are 365 days, we resolve this discrepancy by adding an extra month of Adar every two or three years. The Jewish leap year therefore has 13 months.

A doubleA double month of Adar presents the dilemma of when to celebrate Purim month of Adar presents the dilemma of when to celebrate Purim. The Talmud concludes that Purim is celebrated in the second Adar. The reason: The two holidays of redemption—Purim and Passover (celebrated in Nissan, the month immediately following Adar)—should be celebrated in the closest proximity to each other.1

Now, while both Purim and Passover commemorate momentous occasions of Divine deliverance, their respective stories are extremely dissimilar. During the Egyptian exile, the Jews were condemned to an existence of slavery and were at the mercy of an evil tyrant. Their socioeconomic status and morale could not have been lower. Contrast that with the setting of ancient Persia, where the Jews enjoyed religious freedom, prosperity and acceptance in the broader society, to the point that they were invited to participate in the royal feast in King Achashverosh’s court.

Although in Pharaoh’s Egypt and Haman’s Persia, our ancestors faced the threat of annihilation, the similarity ends there. The path to liberation was quite different. The story of Passover is replete with mind-boggling miracles. Through ten plagues and the splitting of the sea, the destruction of Egypt was swift and breathtaking. The hand of G‑d was recognized by all.

The Megillah of Esther, on the other hand, can be read as a typical palace intrigue. In fact, G‑d is not mentioned once throughout the entire scroll. One could easily interpret the story as simply serendipitous.

In truth, the Purim miracle is deeply significant, even compared to the miracles of Passover. On Passover, G‑d interfered with the rules of nature that He had set up at creation. Nature was an obstruction to Divine revelation. On Purim, the Divine miracles occurred seamlessly within the rules of nature. The natural world itself reflected the Divine. ItThe Purim miracle is deeply significant is a greater “accomplishment,” so to speak, to harness the rules of nature rather than break them.

Celebrating these two holidays close to each other emphasizes that miracles both without and within nature are worthy of recognition and gratitude. Let’s open up our eyes to the miracles that are constantly occurring all around us. And let’s be grateful.