Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Forced Happiness?!

Yay, it's Rosh Chodesh Adar!
As a kid, I remember Adar was so exciting because of the anticipation of Purim. We would sing songs in school, I would think about all of the yummy goodies that we would receive in the mishloach manot, we'd have a Purim carnival in school where the kiddos could win all types of neat prizes, and of course, there was the costume -- which kid didn't want a cool original costume?!

But now...
as people (myself included) get older...
it's a challenge to be happy. It's a challenge to be happy, in general. Now comes Adar and Chazal require us to be HAPPIER than in general!
Ok, first of all, how can I be happy in general?
Second of all, how can I force myself to be happier?
(so, regarding the first question - see the post "true happiness"
If you're not in the mood to read it...then just know that true happiness = closeness to HaShem through KNOWLEDGE about HaShem/Torah/mitzvot.)

Now, how can I force myself to be happiER?
More Torah. More closeness to HaShem.
But what if I just can'ttttttttttttt? What if I work really hard, I'm tired, I'm lazy, and just fed up with the world?

"Yom HaKippurim" means a day "k'purim" - a day LIKE Purim. That means Yom Kippur is COMPARED to Purim. How can Yom Kippur, a biblical holiday, be compared to Purim, a rabbinical holiday?
Because Purim has unfathomable levels of holiness.
In fact, Chazal even tell us that Purim is one of the only holidays that will remain after Mashiach arrives.
Now, why the comparison between Purim and Yom Kippur?
There's a moving story I heard in a shiur by Rabbi Eli Mansour that beautifully answers this question.
There was a Rabbi, during the time of the Holocaust, whose wife and children were murdered by the Nazis. He was in the concentration camp, the Nazis were cruel and inhumane to all of the Jews, the conditions and weather were both terrible -- it was a dark period where very little light could be seen.
And the month of Adar was approaching.

His Talmidim said "Rebbe, it's almost Adar! Chazal teach us 'mi shenichnas adar, marbim b'simcha' - whoever enters Adar increases his joy. But Rebbe, how can we be happy during such terrible times of adversity?"
The Rabbi answered "Chazal tell us that Yom Kippur compares to Purim. On Yom Kippur, no Jew would say "eh, I'm not in the mood to fast. I'm not in the mood to pray. I'll just do my own Yom Kippur in a few weeks from now...when I'm in the mood." No Jew would say that! He knows that regardless of how weak or tired or sad he is, he must FAST and PRAY because NOW is the time for Yom Kippur - not next week! So too, now is the time for Adar! NOW is the time for happiness! Not in a week from now, in a few months from now, or when we get liberated. WE need to FORCE ourselves to be happy. Just like we force ourselves on Yom Kippur to do what we need to do."
And that Adar and Purim was an unforgettable one in the camp. They were happier than ever before.

We have the Koach. HaShem wants us to be close to Him, and He wants us to be happy. It's all up to US!

May all of Klal Yisrael have a chodesh tov u'mevorach, full of unlimited simcha. May we all merit to grow closer to HaShem with each and every day, and receive the geula this month! Happy Adar :)