A Message for a Leap Year
By Rav Steve Glanz
We are about to enter the period of Adar Rishon and Adar Sheini. The reason for having two Adars is that the lunar year is shorter than the solar year. Therefore, we need to add an extra month in seven out of every 19 years to ensure that Pesach falls in the spring. While the reason we add a month is very technical, there is also a critical spiritual component to this added month.
For those of us in yeshiva, the benefit of the extra month is clear. The extra month of choref zman is truly a gift for the guys, allowing them more time to grow in their learning and Yiras Shamayim. However, for those of us not in yeshiva who derive much of their chizuk and rejuvenation from the chagim, the extra month until Pesach can be challenging. What lessons can we learn from the concept of a leap year that can help us with our spiritual growth?
The essence of a leap year lies not only in the technical correction of the calendar, but also in the opportunity it presents for personal and collective recalibration. Just as the calendar gets out of sync and requires recalibration, it is very easy for us to fall out of sync with the ratzon Hashem, necessitating significant intervention to get back on track.
The process of the lunar year and the solar year falling out of sync happens very gradually. On a monthly basis, it’s barely perceptible, but over an extended period, the gap becomes massive. The same scenario can unfold in our lives. As we immerse ourselves in the working world, establish families, and navigate the challenges that come with them, we may find ourselves making minor concessions in our Avodas Hashem—whether in learning, davening, or any other aspect of our Avodas Hashem. While there might be valid reasons for some of these concessions, as they accumulate over time, we may realize that our lives are truly out of sync with the ratzon Hashem, requiring significant measures to get back on track. The extra month offers us a chance to realign ourselves.
Rather than viewing the extra month as a mere inconvenience that prolongs the time until you can take off from work for Pesach, we should regard this additional month as a sacred time for introspection and growth. Just as the leap year corrects the calendar's alignment, we too can realign our hearts and minds with the principles and values instilled during our Yeshiva days. This is a time for teshuvah, for returning to our spiritual roots, and reinforcing our commitment to a life of Torah.
May we all be zocheh to use this additional month as an opportunity for growth and aligning the cycles of our lives with the divine vision that Hashem has for us.
Rav Steve Glanz