Adar is known as the “happy month”, and we are taught “Mishenichnas Adar Marbim B’Simcha”. At first glance, it seems to be saying that when Adar comes, we need to increase our happiness.
A pretty unrealistic expectation—no?
An impossible feat if you are in the throes of challenges. Even scarier during leap years! Oh boy, 2 months of pressure.
It’s really tough to be happy when you just aren’t feeling it.
This obligation should not be misinterpreted. The saying does NOT mean we need to BE happy when happiness feels impossible. That would be way too heavy, and a breeding ground for shame and anxiety.
The obligation is actually to “increase” happiness, which screams…
We don’t always have choices in what happens to us, but we can decide what we will do with life’s curveballs. We can take precautions, set boundaries, and take better care of ourselves in order to increase happiness—not necessarily to BE happy.
When things go wrong and life is overwhelming, why would you ever put unreasonable expectations on yourself?
IT’S OK NOT TO BE OK!
In a few weeks, we will be celebrating Purim, which is known for its hidden blessings—the blessings that at first glance seem not to be blessings at all.
For the most part, the entire Purim story appears to be full of hopelessness, despair, and lots of potential suffering. In the Purim story, true blessing is not revealed until the climax. For the majority of the story, everything looks pretty hopeless and awful.
Esther, the heroine of the story, is a model of resilience, grit, perseverance and hope. She stepped up and made a difference in the world when all the cards were stacked against her.
She was the one.
The one who held it together and effected change. Her love and her fortitude kept the entire Jewish nation strong and hopeful.
As we enter this month, with challenges and scary times still ahead, I am confident that things will get a bit better soon.
Whatever you are going through, remember that it’s impossible to see the ending of the story while you are going through it. Don’t beat yourself up about it—just increase SELF-CARE!
AND REPEAT: IT’S OK NOT TO BE OK!