In the Kabbalistic book Sefer Yetzirah, each month has associated with it, among other things, a letter and a “sense.” The letter of Adar is kuf and the “sense” of the month is laughter, manifest in the holiday of Purim, the most joyous of all the holidays, as it says in the Talmud: “When Adar begins let joy increase” ( Taanit 26b ).
At the end of the book of Esther (9:1) it is stated: “… on the day the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them it was turned to the contrary (nahafochu), that the Jews had rule over those who hated them.” The word nahafochu, to “completely turn around,” is a key concept in understanding the month of Adar and the energy of Purim.
Adar is the last month of the year, spring is in the air, but winter is still hanging on. Nisan, the month of Pesach, is considered the first of the months, whereas Adar has the energy of the end of the year, the loose, hanging ends and the possibility of frustration and depression. Purim takes this energy and turns all the possible reasons to be sad or depressed into joy. This is the secret of the joy of Purim being greater then all the other holidays.
The word Adar, when divided in the following manner – A /Dar – means “the letter Alef dwells.” The letter alef in Kabbalah represents Divinity and the oneness and unity of God. There are many different reasons given for God creating the world. The most enigmatic one is that God “longed to make for Himself a dwelling place in the lower worlds” (Midrash Tanchuma Naso 16). Adar, being the last of the months, represents the lowest of the worlds, but it is specifically here where G-d, represented by the alef, longs to reveal His presence and to “dwell.”
It is noted by all the commentaries that God’s name is not mentioned in Megilat Esther, the Book of Esther. The name Esther comes from the root “to hide,” while the word Megilat comes from the word “to reveal.” In the story of Purim, God’s Presence is hidden, yet so revealed. Intentionally, in the lowest of the worlds, in the last of the months, in the midst of the evil designs of Haman, there G-d reveals His “hiding in history.” Though Purim reveals no wondrous open miracles, more importantly, it reveals the ongoing miracle of Divine Providence in the guise of history and politics.
The letter of the month of Adar is kuf, the only letter (other than the final letters) to descend below the line. The foot of the kuf going below the line symbolizes descending for the sake of fixing all those places of depression and sadness and to raise them up to joy; the alef seeking its dwelling place below.
The letter kuf begins both the words kedusha, “holiness,” and klipah, “shells of impurity.” The spiritual service during this month, climaxing in Purim, is the ongoing work of extracting sparks of holiness from their impure shells and redeeming them by turning them completely into holiness. This is accomplished during the feast on Purim when the unholy feast of Ahashverush is nahafochu, turned around inside out, till it becomes a holy feast of joy and celebration.
The alef dwelling below, A/dar, is also the secret of the building of the Tabernacle in the desert, the subject of the Torah portions read every year during Adar. Taking the physical materials of this world – gold, silver, copper, linen, wood, oil etc – as we took to make the Tabernacle and creating a “space” where Godliness can dwell is a parable for the mission of our lives as individuals and as a people. Though we no longer have a Temple, we do have our homes and the body/soul in which to house the Divine. The command to build a Tabernacle still exists, albeit on a different plane of reality. It is each persons task to create a Jewish home worthy of God’s Divine Presence to dwell. It is for each of us to sanctify our thoughts, speech and actions to become a chariot for God in this, the lowest of all worlds.