Adar Prints
Adar Prints

Print Details: • Paper thickness: 10.3 mil • Paper weight: 5.57 oz/y² (189 g/m²) • Giclée printing quality • Opacity: 94% • ISO brightness: 104%

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Zodiac: Pisces. It is said that when Haman cast the lots to determine which month he would exterminate the Jewish people, he rejoiced at Adar, as its sign was Pisces. He felt that when fish pursue food, they become unaware of any threat pursuing them, and that the Jews themselves would be oblivious to their destruction like lambs to the slaughter. Similarly, he believed that he could swallow them as though they were minnows. Further, he also felt Adar was an unlucky one in Judaism, as that is when Moshe died.

However, he underestimated that large fish themselves can be swallowed up, and the resourcefulness and wit of the people he targeted. This is why Pisces is depicted as sharks, the apex predator of the seas. As for Moshe’s death, Haman forgot that it was also the month of Moshe’s birth. You can find the sharks and Moshe’s basket [he was sent on to escape Pharaoh's wrath] in the moat.

The baby basket and sharks also lend to one of Purim’s most endearing qualities, that of being “hidden” (which is why a key tradition is wearing a costume). Sharks can be seen by their emerging dorsal fins, but they do not show their immense strength obscured by the murky seas. The infant Moses, probably adorable, could not possibly harbor a threat to the great Egyptian Empire. It is impossible to suggest the sickly Esther and the seemingly-meek Jews would successfully take down Achaemenid vizier. Find the masks circling Vashti adding to the theme of being hidden.

Tribe: Naftali. This is actually my name so I feel a kinship with this one. On Yaakov’s deathbed, he blesses Naftali by comparing him to a gazelle let loose, who spreads beautiful sayings. The power and speed of a hind being released reflects the previous idea of untapped hidden potential. The running gazelles on Achashverosh’s throne represent this. “Beautiful sayings” are often interpreted as tefillah (prayer), which the Jewish people and Mordechai used to save themselves from genocide. Find Mordechai atop Haman’s head, riding another fast animal (also referencing the story where Haman must lead him atop a regal horse).

Letter: Kuf. ‘Kuf’ is a homograph of the word ‘Kof’, meaning monkey or ape, which symbolize joy. According to the sages, Purim is the only holiday which will continue to be celebrated after the Messiah’s arrival, as happiness is always a virtue worth celebrating. Two rhesus macaques (which live as far as Central Asia) can be seen playing on the king’s throne. Other nods to this are the champagne bottles being uncorked in the bottom right; they blend into a Mishloach Manot basket, a Purim tradition of giving food to spread goodwill.

Other: Haman is surrounded by groggers, or noisemakers, as each time his name is read in the Megillah aloud the congregation makes noise to “blot out” his name.