The Unique Joy of Adar

24 02 2010

The Unique Joy of AdarBased on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rabbi Eliezer Miller

Our Jewish calendar is full of special days that have a unique influence on us and help us come closer to Hashem. The Torah calls the holidays, moadim, times of meeting with Hashem. The month of Adar contains the hidden power of repentance. Teshuva comes from the root word “shuv,” meaning return. Sin distances us from Hashem, and teshuva brings us back close to Him again.  The Sar Shalom MiBelz explains the verse in Breishit, “Ki lulei hismahmanu ata shavnu zeh pamayim. If we had not delayed we would have returned twice already.”  Lulei has the same letters as Elul. “Zeh” is the numerical value twelve. If one delayed repenting in Elul then one can return in the twelfth month, Adar.

Purim is also a special day for teshuva.  The Tikunei Zohar says that Yom Kippur is Yom KiPurim, it is compared to Purim.  The Midrash says that when Mashiach will come all the holidays will be annulled except Yom Kippur and Purim. The Gra explains that both are days of kabalat haTorah. The second luchot were given on Yom Kippur and the Jews accepted the Torah again out of love on Purim. Rav Tzadok Hacohen writes that just as Yom Kippur is a day of atonement, so Purim has the power to weaken the strength of Amalek. The Zohar in Ki Teitzei says that the root of Amalek is the yetzer hara. Each one of us has a bit of Amalek – the yetzer hara – inside of us. The more a person taps into the holiness of Purim, the more he weakens the Amalek inside of him.

The book Segulot Yisrael writes that just as Yom Kippur is an auspicious time for teshuva and tefilla, so is Purim. Many have a custom to arise early to pray for their own personal yeshuot and for all of Klal Yisrael. The Zohar says that with happiness on Purim one can attain the same lofty level of closeness to Hashem that one achieves through fasting and affliction on Yom Kippur.  The Sefat Emet notes that whereas Elul is a time of teshuva out of fear, Purim is a time of teshuva out of love. Adar connotes an expression of strength. Doing teshuva requires tremendous inner power, and if one repents out of love, one’s sins are transformed into merits. This is why we are enjoined to increase our happiness in Adar. Even if a person doesn’t feel naturally happy, the avoda of Adar is to arouse our feelings for happiness. When we rejoice, our hearts are open to Hashem, which in turn leads us to return to Him in love.

The Shem MiShmuel writes that an extra measure of Divine Presence is found in the world during the month of Adar. He cites the Arizal, who says that any awakening from below always stems from an awakening from above. During Adar, Hashem opens up his wellsprings of generosity and love for the Jewish people. This, in turn, inspires us to express our love towards him.  When a person feels more connected to Hashem, he realizes his own importance and how the world will not run properly without him. This gives him the motivation to want to do Hashem’s will and repent.

May we merit todo teshuva out of love, and may Hashem help us awaken our feelings of happiness, generosity, and love for Him.

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