"WHEN THE MONTH OF ADAR ARRIVES, WE INCREASE OUR JOY."
Today marks the beginning of the Hebrew month of Adar. We are bidden by the Sages to "increase our joy." The popular rationale for this invitation is associated with the imminent merrymaking of Purim. Somehow the entire month adopts its nature and potential from one singular event that takes place during its days.
Events of significance have the capacity to extend their impact. Anticipation, a period of prologue is defined by the event's occurrence as is the epilogue, the moments that follow, the traces and echoes of what has transpired.
Time is like the parchment of our lives, and events, experiences and happenings are the ink that records our life's meaning, that which gives shape and content to our existence.
I believe that another reason can be suggested for the augmenting of joy at this season.
On the Biblical calendar, Adar was the last month of the year. Nisan, the time of Passover, was the first month according to the reckoning of ancient Israel.
Why not add to our joy, to our gratefulness at a time like this? We are soon to begin a "New Year," with spring around the corner and the miracle of rebirth soon to fill our hearts? We have been blessed to reach another end of a year: is this not reason enough for rejoicing?
We need not carouse at Mardi Gras or drink to excess on Purim to sense our deep=seated gratitude for the gift of time! Just a simple and quiet declaration from the Hallel prayer will suffice: "This is the day the Lord has made, let us-it is in our power to- celebrate and rejoice gratefully."
Perhaps "this is the day," refers not necessarily to a special calendar event as much as to every day of our lives, each day a gift from above for which we can be grateful.