No, the title of this article is NOT about the Purim spirit (in fact, if “the road” refers to one with traffic, one should NOT even think of “having one”!). Rather, I think it appropriate to have another article discussing the ramifications of two Adars.

The “road” mentioned is the path one takes: keeping Torah and mitzvos. This article will revisit, in a studious, intellectual way, the reasoning behind how one determines one’s bar mitzvah date if one is born on, say, 12 Adar of a “regular” year, attaining the age where he must trod the road of shemiras mitzvos as a metzuvah v’oseh (one who is actually commanded to do those mitzvos) in a year with two Adars — hence, “One More, For The Road.”

This bar mitzvah boy, we’ll call him Binyamin, was probably not a party to the decision to have his celebration in Adar Two. (He also probably wasn’t a party to spelling his name with two “yuds,” which is also somewhat of an issue. Poor, poor Binyamin: two yuds, a question; two Adars, a question.)

Yet it is a complicated issue! The Gemara which deals with the argument of whether Purim is to be celebrated in Adar One or Adar Two states that 14 and 15 of Adar One, even according to the opinion that Purim is celebrated in Adar Two, are both forbidden for fasting and eulogizing. Tosafos understands that to mean that there is NO obligation to make merry. The Gra (Shulchan Aruch 568:7) explains how one can differentiate: The prohibition on fasting, etc. on 14 and 15 of Adar One is not based on the Megillah dictating partying, etc. Rather, it’s due to it being included in Megilas Ta’anis, a chronicle of Rabbinic Holidays, where the dates 14 and 15 of Adar are given as dates in which it is forbidden to fast, etc. The Gra explains: any laws which are results of celebrating Purim take place (according to this opinion, which is the halachah) in Adar Two. But regarding a holiday date, we follow our calendar, and it says in Megillas Ta’anis, ”Adar”; anything which has the date of 14 or 15 Adar is forbidden for fasting, etc. So regarding a date, Adar is Adar, and there are two of them! (Gra points out that if not for a derashah from a possuk stated in the Gemara, Purim would indeed have been celebrated in both Adars! Shucks!)

The Gra is actually coming to explain the law of a yahrtzeit. If someone was niftar in Adar, then the yahrtzeit in a year with two Adars carries three opinions: Shulchan Aruch rules it’s commemorated in Adar Two (as we find the case to be when deciding how Purim is celebrated). Rema says in Adar One, based on a Gemara in Nedarim that when dating legal documents one writes plain “Adar” in Adar One, and “Adar Two” in Adar Two. The Gra says that the dating of shetaros cannot be a proof, for there we are dealing with how people generally refer to it (which apparently was the way Rema writes — plain Adar for One, Adar Two for the second). The Gra continues and says that the basic rule would be to have the commemoration of the yahrtzeit be in BOTH Adars, as we are dealing with a calendric date, and Adar is Adar, and we have two of them! Just as we find (as we learned before) that the celebration of the dates listed in Megillas Ta’anis would be relevant to BOTH Adars, as there are indeed two of them! (And as for the celebration of Purim as decreed by the Megilah, we learn from a possuk that it is to be celebrated only once, and we then have the argument in the Gemara as to which Adar it is, and the halachah remains that Purim is in the second.)

The Yerushalmi in Megillah, however, takes a whole ‘nother track: It says that the primary Adar is the second one — that the first one is the “extra” month, put in so that the lunar cycle would catch up with the solar one. Therefore, Yerushalmi writes, a lamb born in a regular year in Adar is not to be considered a year old if the next year has two Adars until the second Adar, for that is the only true Adar.

Many point to this Yerushalmi to explain the Rema’s ruling that a child, let’s call him Binyamin, born in Adar of a plain year, let’s pick the twelfth of Adar, is only bar-mitzvah on the twelfth of the second Adar.

And so, in summation, we have:

If it’s a question of age: We have the Rema, based on Yerushalmi, that the age is reached only in the second Adar (because we are “catching up” to the solar year). And so, mazel tov, Binyamin, still a week to go, may you be zocheh to develop yir’as Shamayim, and to grow and be a talmid chacham, and a good person!

If it’s a question of the calendar date (e.g., a yahrtzeit): Shulchan Aruch rules that the second Adar is followed, Rema rules it is the first, and Gra rules: both!

And when it comes to dating a document, which would be determined by how people talk, Adar would be the first Adar.

I will conclude by making a point about the hidden Hand of Hashem in the Purim story — perhaps it would not be far-fetched to compare Hashem’s Hand there as being similar to an Editor’s hand. It remains hidden, out of sight, while all of the “credit” for the final product accrues to the ones whose names appear openly — yet those in the know realize where the TRUE credit goes, to the unseen hand of the Editor. And so we can say that Hashem is the ultimate Editor of the Purim story, hidden behind the scenes, yet responsible for it all. And wouldn’t it be the most sublime irony if there were to be a woman Editor, as every woman is, according to Hashem’s plan, the ezer k’negdo, the Editor of the Jewish Home, responsible for all, yet private and undetected —a kind of Esther Hamalka, (with the root being haster astir, I will hide away), who, Chazal tell us, because she was tzanuah and discreet (ain Esther magedes) merited to be the heroine of the Purim story. And, in perhaps a most supreme, transcendent, irony, imagine if there were a a) woman b) editor c) whose name equals the gematria (a hidden allusion to the name of) Esther!…

Mazel tov, Editor!