Chodesh Tov Adar Sheini! The Talmud says ‘when Adar enters, we increase in joy’. And in Leap Years, when we experience a second Adar, we have the ability to double an already unparalleled level of joy. But how can we feel joyful with the current state of the world?
One look at the world news is enough to deflate anyone’s excitement, not to mention the individual challenges that each family and person is currently facing. If we dig deeper than a casual ‘hello’ to the people around us, it quickly becomes evident that no one is immune to a seemingly endless wave of struggles. So, how on earth are we to find joy in this state?
Countless times in the Torah, we are instructed on joy. ‘Have joy’…’Be joyful’…’Do all things with joy’…’Serve Hashem with joy’. These are just a few of the types of commandments we are given. But are we really able to just flip on our internal joy like a light switch? The answer is yes.
Our Sages teach us that Hashem builds within each and every one of us the power to fulfill the missions we are given. Each of us has a very specific mission and purpose to accomplish in this world. And part of our life’s work, part of the refinement of our neshama, (our soul, our character, the inner essence of our being) is to work through each struggle and obstacle and find the good. If we truly trust in Hashem, and we know that the Ultimate Creator of the entire universe ONLY does good, then we must work hard to stop over analyzing things that our mind can’t reconcile. We can stop trying to understand every situation and practice the simple faith of a child that everything is absolutely perfect in the world right now, because this is exactly how Hashem wants it at this exact moment.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe teaches us that a little bit of light casts away a lot of darkness. And as Jews, it’s our job to be a light to the nations. I might not be able to ‘directly’ affect the war in Ukraine or the pandemic pandemonium. But our individual energy is more powerful that we can possibly understand. So, if I purposefully choose to stop my negative stressful thought train and channel that energy into positive goodness, it can actually become like the Butterfly Effect that starts off as a tiny flap of a wing, but ultimately creates a tsunami on the other side of the world.
We also know that the energy of the world is cyclical, and Hashem is above time. Thus, in certain ways, the energy of the world this Adar is the same as it was during the original Purim story. “There are many joyous dates on the Jewish calendar, but besides Purim, none of them affect the entire month, causing it to be auspicious and joyous”. The Megillah states that Adar is “the month that was reversed for them from grief to joy.” So, if you and I actively choose joy today and trust in Hashem’s plan, even against all practical and logical arguments and evidence, not only will we feel better internally, but it does actually change the world, just like it did in this auspicious month over 2300 years ago.