When Adar Arrives, Joy Increases

As the new moon arrives this month, the Hebrew month of Adar heralds in a season of Joy. The Talmud (the rabbinic compendium of legal discourse) teaches that "when the month of Adar comes in, joy increases". This refrain has a song that goes with it (learn it here). I always find this a peculiar teaching. How does joy automatically increase just because we've entered the month of Adar? Especially during difficult times, how do we find joy? Sages taught that the month of Adar signals the beginning of the time when we start preparing for the spring holidays, Purim and Passover, both of which are considered very joyous holidays in different ways. But I think that's only part of it. How do we find joy personally, especially this year, as we enter into the second year of the pandemic when many of us are reminded of where we were a year ago just as the lock down began.

I see this verse as an invitation and a challenge -- and all the more so during this year as we are still in the midst of the pandemic. The invitation is to find the joy, make room for it, see what it feels like. The challenge is to let it increase, nourish it, and help it to grow.

I find the most joy in connecting with others through the modalities of spirituality and creative expression. Which is why I am so excited for our event on February 21, 2021 called the Art of Mezuzah. Lizzie Sivitz, Jewish scribal artist has created a special dedication card for us for this event upon which you can write your intentions for the values that your mezuzah represents and you can either place it to be visible in the mezuzah holder or hang it near the mezuzah.

Additionally my joy increases as I am preparing to teach a 6 week class on Cycles and Seasons of the Jewish Year Cycle starting March 3, as part of Hebrew College's Open Circle Jewish Learning. This is a course in experiential spirituality and will include mindfulness practices and spiritual exercises that participants will be able to use in their own lives. Class sessions will incorporate guided meditation, partner and group discussions, spiritual writing, art, and creative rituals utilizing materials from nature or that you have at home. It would bring me even more joy for you to join us! Register now.

I'd love to hear how you make room for joy, how you find it, how you increase it.

Looking forward to seeing you soon and wishing you Chodesh Adar Tov (happy new moon and month of Adar) and Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Sarah