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There is an idea that once Adar comes in, we increase in joy.

Why is this so? Nisan signals the Exodus and our establishing as a people. Sivan has the giving of the Torah. Kislev has the story of Channukah and its joy. Why is Adar singled out as a joyous month when we have other occasions of joy in our calendar (some of which are Torah based, not from the post Mosaic period)?

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When the Talmud (Ta'anit 29a) states that we increase joy when Adar comes in Rashi explains:

ימי נסים היו לישראל פורים ופסח

They were days of miracles for Israel – Purim and Passover.

We can perhaps derive two things from here. First of all, the increased joy may not be limited to Adar; it may extend into Nissan as that is when Passover occurs, or at the very least if it is limited to Adar the joy still covers non-Adar events. Second of all, we are apparently given the reason for the increased joy. It seems we are extra joyous because of the miracles that were done for Israel, particularly miracles involving saving Israel from destruction. Indeed, the holidays of Purim and Passover are unique in that regard, as the miracles they represent are about Israel being saved from destruction, something which the rest of the calendar lacks.

There is also a responsum from R. Jacob Emden (She'eilat Ya'avetz 2:88) that seems to address this question:

שאלת עוד מה הזקיק רש"י שם בגמ' משנכנס אדר לפרש ימי נסים היו פורים ופסח פשוט שהוצרך לכך משום דאי משום פורים גרידא א"כ לימא נמי ניסן וכסלו אלא ע"כ משום שהתחילו ימי נסים רצופים ותכופים זה לזה

You asked further, what bound Rashi there in the Gemara of "when Adar enters" to explain [it as] they were days of miracles – Purim and Passover? It is obvious that he had to [do] this because if [it was] because of Purim alone, then it should have also said Nissan and Kislev. Rather, it must be because the days of miracles began continuous and immediate to each other.

It sounds like from the fact that the Talmud only mentions Adar, we can derive that it must be the unique facet that it is the beginning of a set of miracles, not just a particular miracle as would be elsewhere in the calendar.

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  • So would any practical implications (if there are any...see the linked question in the above comments) apply to Nisan as well? – rosends Feb 25 at 1:30
  • @rosends That might depend on which way you go with my first point. But note that the Gemara gives an example of specifically doing something in Adar which could indicate that it's specifically Adar and not Nissan. – Alex Feb 25 at 1:38
  • +1 BH shekivanti to that Yaavetz – user6591 Feb 25 at 20:24
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Rabbi Chaim Drukman often brings the following parable:

If you meet a friend in a place where you expect to meet him, like at work or at shul, then it's nice to meet him, and you're happy about it, but it's not something so special. Now, if you go, say, on a hiking trip in some wadi or such, and then suddenly meet your friend, you're even more happy to see him, because you have added happiness from the unexpected situation. Finally, if you and your friend have drifted apart for some years, and you don't think you'll ever be in touch anymore, and then you get tangled up in a difficult or dangerous situation, and suddenly out of nowhere your friend, who you thought wasn't your friend anymore, appears to save you - your happiness will increase tenfold or hundredfold over any previous situation.

During other holidays, while our happiness is great at the wondrous miracles Hashem did for us - it was expected, more or less. Or at least, it didn't come as such a big surprise.

But on Purim we were in a position of "Hester Panim", Hashem hid His face from us. We were in exile, there was no Shechinah there, and we were in danger of being wiped off the face of the planet. In general, we thought Hashem had abandoned us. And then, out of nowhere, Hashem revealed His face and everything changed - "ונהפוך הוא", and we realized that Hashem is still with us. That's why on Purim and all of Adar our happiness is greater than other holidays.

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