Rejoicing in the month of Adar

By Rabbi Julian Sinclair, February 7, 2013

Adar is the month of Purim, and we get into the Purim spirit at the beginning of the month. The Talmud tell us: “When Adar begins, we increase joy” (Ta’anit 29a). No other festival has such an official run-up period (though the fast of Tishah b’Av is the culmination of a mourning period.

The type of joy characteristic of Adar is silly fun. In some Jewish schools, teachers cancel exams and allow students to take charge. Esther 9:1 describes the miracle of Purim as one of reversal of a bad situation into a good one: v’nahafoch hu, “ it was turned to the contrary”, says the Megillah. Hence some ordinarily sensible people let loose in Adar and try to turn normality on its head.

The Maharal of Prague (1520-1609) points out that Adar is also linked to Nisan, the month of the redemption of the Jewish people, and so this may be why the entire month of Adar is a celebration.
Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Last updated: 1:02pm, February 7 2013