Remember to be Happy

Happy Rosh Hodesh Adar II.

The Hebrew calendar works on a hybrid lunar system that adds an extra month (a second Adar) seven times every 19 years. This adjustment creates the phenomenon of our holidays coming in either early or late relative to the Gregorian calendar, and keeps our holidays in the same relative season year in and year out. Note that with this week’s start to Adar II, our next round of holidays will all be on the “late” side.

Mishenichanas Adar” -- The Talmud teaches that when Adar enters, joy increases. And Adar is not our only time to be joyous. Sukkoth is referred to as the time of our joy. In Psalms, we are told that we “serve God with joy.”

But the world is at war. People are dying. Sometimes it’s hard to be joyous.

I attended a wedding on Sunday. Mazel tov! At the end of the ceremony, as the rabbi placed the glass under the groom’s foot and we all sang “Im Eshkochech Yerushalayim”—If I forget you Jerusalem, we were reminded, like at all Jewish weddings, that even as we celebrate life’s greatest joy, we remember Jerusalem, the tragedies of our people, and the imperfections of the world.

In the book of Kohelet (Ecclesiastes), we read, “To everything there is an appointed season, and there is a time for every matter under the heaven … a time to weep and a time to laugh.”

World events give us opportunities to either weep or laugh. Judaism makes sure that we take time to do both, even if we only feel like doing one of them. Entering this Adar II is one of those opportunities.

Remember to be happy.

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