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Saved by the Queen! Get your Purim recipes here~ Feb. 19, 2015 Newsletter
February 19, 2015
While pre-cleaning for Pesach the other day (yikes, I know! More about that later*), I found a gold ring I’d been missing; I was so happy! Now, whenever I look at it on my finger, my joy returns. In fact, sometimes I’m happier to see it now than the moment I discovered it.
Ringing in the Happy Month of Adar
The feeling of increasing happiness is a Jewish phenomenon that is unique to the month of Adar. Mishenichnas Adar Marbim B’Simcha; “When Adar enters, joy increases,” the Talmud tells us. We don’t say joy enters with the new month, but that joy, which already exists, grows.
Here in Israel, creative joyous juices flow today. Chassidic niggunim blast from vans, spontaneous dancing erupts on the sidewalks and students sport brightly colored wigs as casually as kippot; and it’s just Rosh Chodesh. Over the next weeks, silliness intensifies and spreads until it reaches its climax on Purim.
This is all fun and proper, and it is not all superficial. There is a deeper kind of simcha that frivolity helps us access. Rabbi Leib Keleman says that true simcha means connecting with Hashem. Every part of our day gives us a path to this true simcha if we so choose. Opportunities come in the form of mitzvos, brachos (blessings) and, chesed (kindness) (sometimes while dancing in the streets in silly clothes).
Go With the Flow
The Jewish calendar is a cycle of opportunities. Each season, each month, each holiday brings us its own shefa, particular flow of goodness from Above. Adar is the month when simcha is the most accessible. Today and for the next 30 days, we have an extra dose of Heavenly assistance to bring simcha into our lives, simcha that will sustain us for the year, simcha that is real and enduring.
When we know what the shefa of the season is, we can actively become vessels for that good to flow into our lives. Rabbi Avraham Danzig in his commentary on the Shulchan Aruch writes that “HaSimcha HaGedolah B’Mitzvah-, joy is one of the greatest elements in performing a mitzvah.” This is illustrated by the great mystic of Safat, the Arizal, who says that the happiness one experiences when fulfilling a mitzvah should really be more blissful than that experience when one finds a host of pleasures and precious jewels (like my newfound ring?).
Women’s mitzvos are boundless. Besides proscribed tefilla and commandments that apply, we have the responsibility to build our Jewish home, our Mikdash Me’at. When we hug someone who needs it, provide a listening ear, make an encouraging phone call or a doctor’s appointment, cook for housebound friend, sweep a floor, do the laundry, drive a carpool, make yet another weeknight dinner or even plan the Purim seuda, we are doing mitzvos. We are building a home where Hashem can dwell, and all who enter can feel the simcha of that closeness.
Knowing that we are not alone, that Hashem is with us giving us mitzvah opportunities (challenges and drudgery that they may seem to be), that is simcha. And in Adar, when we have the shefa of simcha pouring down, it’s vital to fuse happiness to our efforts. Some people play lively music in their homes and car. You can post signs in your home, “Rejoice it’s Adar!” Or encourage puns and corny jokes: “How does Moshe make his tea? He brews it.” (yuk yuk). I’m very glad I have my ring to remind me what I need to do.
Saved by the Queen~
Dont' remind me, Passover is around the corner??? a note about Pesach cleaning: *My hard and fast rule is that there is NO spring cleaning in Nisan! Pesach cleaning is not the time to clean out all those places where no chometz can possibly hide, but the cleaning yetzer hara will try to distract me into doing it anyway. From Tu b'shvat through Adar, I try to outsmart her by cleaning out 1-2 drawers or cabinets every week (and hopefully finding more lost treasure).
Read what Rabbi Scheinberg, zt”l says is the best way to clean your home for Passover. Look forward to the updated 5775 TheKosherChannel 3-Day Cooking Guide to Passover in your next issue of Queen in the Kitchen.
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