Rejoicing in the month of Adar
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