Thursday, February 24, 2011

Happy Birthday? This Year, Yes.

Birthdays are a rare thing. They only happen once a year after all. To many people birthdays are something quite special. For me, beginning at the end of high school and continuing into my time spent in Israel and at YU, my birthdays usually passed by with little fanfare. I’ve never been the type of guy who goes out with a big group of friends to a restaurant or whatever. I don’t think it’s something to fault my friends for, since we’ve all been quite busy and it always seemed to me to be rather difficult to gather everyone together with their disparate schedules to commemorate the relatively unimportant occasion of my birthday.

Of course, things change quite drastically when you’re married. Now, there is someone else you share a domicile – and more – with, and he/she intrinsically and very deeply cares about every little thing about you. As such, ASoG didn’t dare let my birthday go by without a card, two presents, and the most delicious surprise, her specialty birthday-food-item, cake bites!

Last year, ASoG and I had only recently begun dating when my birthday rolled around. As circumstances dictated, I missed hers, since I didn’t know her at the time, though I definitely made up for it this year. At any rate, even though we barely knew each other, she was enough of an observant individual that she noticed a certain book I had pointed out during our date at Barnes and Noble that she went to the same store and purchased that very copy for me (I knew it was the same book because I recognized some of the wear on the cover). She very sneakily delivered the book along with a tin of cake bites after our date on the evening of my birthday.

I had a very strong feeling at the time that ASoG could be THE ONE, because the book she spent her hard earned money on was a hardbound collection of a particular comic book series I enjoy. What normal girl would do such a thing? The cake bites I can understand, since all girls (hopefully) possess some degree of baking/cooking skills. But an expensive, fancy-bound comic book? That’s something else entirely.

Anyway, ASoG did a delightful repeat performance by buying me two similar hardbound books from the very same series this year – which I had also pointed out during a recent trip to Barnes and Noble as volumes I intended to purchase at some point.

Back to my opening line – most birthdays happen once a year, but some – for a few (un)fortunate individuals, only have birthdays every few years. Of course, I’m talking about people like me, who were born in Adar Aleph, the extra/13th month of the Jewish calendar. It’s interesting that we used to tease a friend of mine in middle school that since he was born in Adar Bet that he belonged in pre-k. Later, I found out that Adar Aleph is actually the extra month, as evidenced by the fact that Purim takes place in the “real” Adar, which located next to Nissan and a month before Pesach. This also led to a later conflict when the same friend displaced me for my bar mitzvah parsha – since he was born earlier in Adar Bet than I was in Adar Aleph, he basically took my schedule layning.

For those interested in seeing when/how often Adar Aleph occurs during a Shana Meuberes, check out Wikipedia's entry here.

I want to share an interesting Dvar Torah that a rebbe of mine from Israel told us at an alumni shabbaton about those born in Adar Aleph. He found this Dvar Torah whiel looking at the end of an older printed sefer, where it was sort of tacked on fairly randomly. He explained that this was pretty common practice for early printers, since paper was quite expensive, and any leftover white space was basically wasted money. So, the author would just fill out the remaining blank section with a vort he had heard or come up with.

This particular Dvar Torah talked about the incident when Bnei Yisrael went to war with Midyan and Bilaam. Moshe chose 1,000 men from each of the twelve tribes to fight, but the selection was not done at random. Rather, he specifically picked out 1,000 men from each tribe who was born in Adar Aleph because of the month’s special status. As the 13th month in the Jewish calendar, it does not have a zodiac sign from among the twelve known constellations. Since Bilaam used magic and mazalos to fuel his powers, Moshe wanted soldiers who “have no mazal” and would remain unaffected by Bilaam’s efforts during the combat.

So in addition to rarely having a birthday, it seems I don’t have a mazal either. Pretty weird huh?

A lot has happened since my last birthday, the biggest thing is of course the fact that I got married to the lovely ASoG, which has changed my life in so many pleasant ways. I don’t really think I can write a list of things I’ve learned since last year, primarily because everything is so new right now that many lessons I learned in life as a single person have vastly differently (or irrelevant) applications to my new life as a husband. I also don’t want to drag out this post any longer, so I’ll leave it at that J


  1. Happy b-day!

    Was it calvin and hobbes or the far side?

  2. lawschooldrunk - neither, actually. Something a bit more obscure and far more geeky.


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