4 Adar II 5765
A Higher Level of Simcha
by Rabbi Bezalel Borstein (Machon Gold)
The Gemara in Taanit (29a-b) compares the emotion of happiness one is to experience during Adar with the sadness that we feel during the month of Av. Just as from Rosh Chodesh Av, our joy is continuously lessened until the ninth of Av, so too from Rosh Chodesh Adar until Purim we must increase our happiness each day.
Mishenichnas Adar Marbim B’simcha. During the month of Av, Chazal set up laws of mourning that become more severe as we approach Tisha B’av, which automatically give us an expanded feeling of grief. But from Rosh Chodesh Adar until Purim there are no specific guidelines as to how to internalize a gradual development of joy!
Perhaps the mitzvos on Purim are meant to be the hints that teach us the building blocks of pleasure. Connecting to Hakadosh Baruch Hu brings contentment to an individual. Deracheha Darchei Noam (Mishlei 3:17) – “Her (Torah’s) ways are ways of pleasantness” On Purim, there was a higher level of acceptance of Torah (Kiyimu V’kiblu) and we are meant to re-experience that. In addition, the Mitzva of reading the Megilla on Purim is a type of a “Hallel” (See Megilla 14a) – a high level of praise/tefilla for Hashem. We praise and daven to Hashem not only because of who He is, but also – because of what he is capable of. The Megilla forces us to focus on the fact that we are praising a G-d for whom NOTHING IS IRREVERSABLE. (V’nahapech hu). No matter what current troubles I have, no matter how difficult my situation, you Hashem have the power to reverse it. Perhaps the time between Rosh Chodesh Adar and Purim should be used to sharpen our focus in our Torah learning and our Tefillot with regards to this awesome capability of Hashem. This will certainly give a person a certain serenity of the soul, and satisfaction at the deepest level.
The other three mitzvoth of Purim – Purim Seuda, Mishloach Manot and Matanot L’evyonim are meant to strengthen our ties with our fellow Jews. A Jew who gives to others, unconditionally, will himself experience the greatest joy! (See Michtav Me-eylihahu Kuntras Hachesed) The Ktav Sofer writes that the reason for the Mitzva of Mishloach Manot is for “Chiba, Shalom, V’rayut” as the Megilla writes “Umishloach Manot Ish L’ray-ayhu”. He concludes that one does not completely fulfill the mitzvah of Mishloach Manot if the sender remains anonymous for how can an anonymous gift increase joy and friendship between two people? In addition, the mitzvah a Tzedaka is slightly different on Purim than on the rest of the year. During the year, one who gives tzedaka may decide to whom he gives tzedaka. On Purim NO OPPORTUNITY MAY BE LOST TO CONNECT WITH ANOTHER JEW!
Anyone who asks for tzedaka is considered legitimate. Giving with an open heart will help internalize a feeling of immense happiness. Perhaps Chazal meant for us to learn from these miztvot and begin to increase our level of “social action” from Rosh Chodesh Adar. Meshenichnass Adar Marbim B’simcha? Yes, we can experience elevated levels of joy for each passing day of Adar. We can internalize higher levels of Simcha due to an increased level of connection to Torah. We can strengthen our understanding of the awesome unlimited power of Hashem. (A power that is meant to protect me!) We can increase our awareness of our responsibilities to a fellow Jew and begin taking action.