Thursday, February 23, 2012

C'mon, Get Happy! - Kavvanah for Rosh Hodesh Adar, 2/23/2012

There is only one appropriate message for Rosh Hodesh Adar, the beginning of month of Adar, which contains the raucous, festive holiday of Purim:

מי שנכנס אדר מרבין בשמחה
Mi shenikhnas Adar, marbin besimhah.
When we enter Adar, our joy increases.

These are also the lyrics to a fun song that Rabbi Stecker and I sing with the Beth HaGan nursery school this time of year; my daughter and son have been singing it around the house since Tu Bishvat.  But that line is really only half of the story.  The original context, from the Talmud (Ta'anit 29a), goes as follows:

אמר רב יהודה בריה דרב שמואל בר שילת משמיה דרב כשם שמשנכנס אב ממעטין בשמחה כך משנכנס אדר מרבין בשמחה
Rav Yehudah, the son of Rav Shemuel bar Shilat, said in the name of Rav: Just as when we enter the month of Av our joy is lessened, so when we enter Adar, our joy increases.

In other words, the Jewish calendar has emotional poles, setting aside a period for tears and an equivalent period for happiness.  In the spirit of the latter, here is a classic rabbinic story, particularly timely in light of one of last week's posts here at The Modern Rabbi:
A priest, a minister, and a rabbi are asked the question "When does life begin?"
The priest says: "The moment of conception."
The vicar replies: "The moment of birth."
The rabbi replies: "The moment the kids are married and the mortgage has been paid off."   
Buh-dump-bump.  Happy Adar!

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