1. Our Rabbis taught, “Open with blessing.” This applies at all times, particularly in a month of which it is said, “As Adar enters, we increase our joy.” (Our Sages mention this concept in contrast to the month of Av of which it is said, “As Av enters, we minimize our joy.” This emphasizes the dynamic of transformation, that just as darkness can be transformed into light, bitterness is transformed to sweetness.)

The positive nature of the present month is further emphasized in the present year when all the aspects of Adar are given a twofold expression. Thus this year there is a “great Purim” and a “small Purim.” This also provides every Jew with a directive in his service of G‑d, teaching that at times we must be “great,” and at times “small,” i.e., conduct ourselves with bittul as we say, “My soul will be as dust to all.”

The latter approach enables one to be a mekabel, “recipient,” and, indeed, to receive from the essence of the Ein Sof, G‑d’s infinity. This in turn heightens the intensify of our bond of oneness with G‑d; “Israel and the Holy One, blessed be He, are entirely one.”

This year the months of Adar include sixty days (when the first day of Rosh Chodesh Adar Rishon is included in this reckoning). The number sixty is associated with the nullification of undesirable influences, bittul b’shishim. Furthermore, when a non-kosher food is mixed with sixty times its quantity of kosher food, the entire amount — including the amount of non-kosher food that has become intermingled in the mixture — may be eaten. This points to, not only the nullification of opposing forces, but their transformation into positive influences.

The concept of transformation is intrinsically related to the month of Adar (and particularly to Adar within a leap year). This transformation also effects worldly matters. The very Hebrew word for world, olam, relates to the Hebrew word, helam, meaning “concealment.” The concealment of our world is transformed into a positive influence, the darkness associated with G‑d’s essence as it is written, “He made darkness His hidden place.”

This will prepare us for the fulfillment of the commandment in the beginning of this week’s Torah portion, “And you shall make Me a Sanctuary and I will dwell within.” This refers to the Sanctuary which is in the heart of each and every Jew, man, woman, and child and also to the building of a Sanctuary for G‑d in this material world.

And in a literal sense, this refers to the Sanctuaries constructed throughout Jewish history, the Sanctuary constructed by Moshe, the Sanctuary of Shiloh, those of Nov and Givon, the First and the Second Batei HaMikdash,1 and the Third Beis HaMikdash to be built in the immediate future, “the Sanctuary of G‑d established by Your hands.”