Our sages tell us that when the month of Adar enters, we increase our joy. This is due to the Purim holiday that falls out during this month.
By Rabbi Ari Enkin, Rabbinic Director, United with Israel
On Friday, February 12, we began the festive Hebrew month of Adar.
Adar is the 12th and final month in the Jewish calendar. This is because the first month of the year is Nisan (the next month), during which the holiday of Passover occurs. As Passover signifies the freedom, both physical and spiritual, of the Jewish people, Nisan was designated as the first month of the year.
Interestingly, a new Jewish year begins on Rosh Hashana, in the month of Tishrei, which is the sixth month of the year. I doubt there is any other religion or culture that has the count of months begin in one month and the count of years begin in another. Usually, it is one and the same!
Our sages tell us that when the month of Adar enters, we increase our joy. This is due to the Purim holiday that falls out during this month. Purim is the extremely festive celebration that commemorates Mordechai and Esther’s triumph over the wicked Haman, who in the end plotted his own “final solution.” (Haman was not the first, and certainly not the last, to plan a “final solution.”) This victory is considered to have been so great, so unexpected and so miraculous that the joy of Purim permeates throughout the entire month.
Why is this so?
Yes, there are many joyous holidays on the Jewish calendar. In fact, it seems that the joyous holidays that include a ban on doing work (like Passover or even the Sabbath) would be on a higher level and arouse more joy than Purim, which is ultimately a regular workday. What is it about Purim that its joy is even greater than during the biblically mandated holidays?
Haman knew that the Jewish people were at an all-time low. They were in exile, banished from their land. The Temple, which symbolizes the connection between God and the Jewish people, had been destroyed, and efforts to rebuild it were snarled by the King of the Purim story, Achashverosh. The Jews were essentially helpless, both physically and spiritually. Haman took advantage of this when he plotted to exterminate the Jewish people.
But to the shock of even the Jews themselves, Haman’s plot was foiled. And this is why Purim is unique. The fact the God saved us, well, that’s the foundation of every Jewish holiday.
But, as mentioned, the Jews were down and out and God was angry at them for their sins – which is actually why they were expelled from Jerusalem in the first place. Nevertheless, He still came to our rescue! Unexpected and undeserved!
As such, Purim is a lesson on just how much God loves the Jewish people even when He is angry and even when we are undeserving. This is why the joy of Purim is greater than that of any other holiday and lasts throughout the entire month!
Adar is truly is a month of happiness!