The Happiness of the Month of Adar – 5775
There is a famous Talmudic maxim – ‘mi’shenicnas adar marbim b’simcha’ – when the month of Adar commences we increase our happiness.
Although there are many tunes and melodies to this phrase what does it actually mean? How do we make ourselves happier? Is happiness not a state of mind which either one naturally has or not? I have seen some who venture to say that in order to fulfill this instruction one should progressively drink a bit more wine throughout the month. But I would like to offer a different approach.
Some time ago, I saw a clip showing an American married lady who at a young age lost her hearing, and after extensive medical treatment her hearing was restored at a later age. Being a mother of a young seven-year-old boy she had never heard her son actually speak to her. The clip shows the mother meeting her son for the first time after her successful operation. A simple three words “I love you” from the young boy to his mother invokes a cry of happiness from his mother: “I can hear you, I can hear you”! Her joy and ecstasy at being able to hear is very emotional to see and made me wonder: why are we not jumping for joy every day when we hear our spouse and children communicating with us? Sound waves and the ability to hear is an amazing wonder of creation which we should appreciate every day. And for this reason, every morning we recite the birchot hashachar to thank G-D for the basic skills we have in order to instill into ourselves an appreciation and gratitude for the many different faculties we have. When we appreciate this we become happier and more content people.
Adar is a joyful month commemorating the salvation that our nation experienced from the hands of our foes. One who studies the Megillah will learn that G-d was constantly there – albeit very concealed. From this position He conducted the entire series of events culminating with our deliverance from Haman. The entire Purim story could be understood as a natural occurrence of events but in truth it was G-d behind the entire course of events.
By the time we get to Purim we need to be able to be in the correct frame of mind to commemorate the hidden miracles of Purim. Before we get there, we first need to commemorate and be joyful about the ‘hidden’ miracles of nature and not sink in common day nature. Hence in Hebrew, the words ‘teva’ (nature) and ‘litboa’ (to sink) are from the same root because we sometimes forget and sink in nature.
Our task for the month of Adar is to contemplate and meditate on all the gifts G-d has blessed us with, and then on Purim we can also truly appreciate the hidden miracles that G-d did for us. By doing this we will surely fulfill the instruction of our Sages – ‘mi’shenicnas adar marbim b’simcaha’. The more one reflects on his blessings the happier a person becomes.