The Seventh of Adar

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13 Feb 2014

The 7th of Adar was the day on which Moshe Rabbeinu (the Biblical Moses) was born, and also the day on which he died exactly 120 years later. His burial place is unknown.

Linking Jewish present to past, modern day Israel has instituted a public memorial ceremony on this day for Israel Defense Forces soldiers who have not yet been brought to burial (the unknown soldier). This annual memorial takes place at Mt. Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem.

Customs of the Seventh of Adar

Calendar with 7 CircledThe pious have the custom of fasting this day and saying a special prayer or “Tikun for the seventh of Adar” that is found in the siddur (Jewish prayerbook). For the death of the righteous is atonement, and fasting, repentance and prayer likewise atone for Israel. When both types of atonement occur together, total forgiveness is achieved for the people of Israel. In a leap year, which contains two Adars, this fast is generally observed the second Adar, with some observing the fast the first Adar also.

It is customary in many Jewish communities for the Chevrah Kadisha (burial society) to observe the seventh of Adar as a day of gathering for its members. A festive banquet is held and the entire community participates. Gaba’im (officials) are appointed, and regulations are adopted for the coming year. The reason for this custom reflects praise upon Israel. Most working people rejoice when work increases, and are saddened when their work diminishes. The Chevrah Kadisha, however, never rejoice in their work for obvious reasons. On the seventh of Adar their work ceased. For upon the death of Moshe Rabenu no creature was engaged in his burial, except G-d in His Glory alone.