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Monday, February 11, 2013

Rosh Chodesh Adar: Grin & Share It!

"When Adar arrives, we increase joy (Taanis, 29A)." 

In the month of Adar, we are instructed to increase our joy. This seems at first a bit unusual. How in the face of very real and personal darkness can we be asked to increase our joy? How, when there is suffering or pain or fear within and around us can we be commanded to increase our joy? The answer is that we must also increase our faith and trust in G-d, our emunah. We must recall and take comfort in the fact that only part of the big picture is revealed to us in this time. Everything is from G-d and in that, everything is good. Nonetheless, for even the strongest at heart, this battle poses a consistent struggle. Even the deepest sense of faith is, of course, characterized by some element of doubt. At times we overcome the fear; at times it feels as if the fear may overcome us. This is when the darkness threatens to overtake and we must rely on pure soul-power to light the world around us from the inside out.

We are all guilty of it. Living in terms of whens or what-ifs. "I will be happy when I have x, y, and z." Or, "How can I be joyful if...?" I challenge you as much as I challenge myself in this month of Adar to re-frame how we approach that question. Here are some new whens and what-ifs for you:

  • What if instead of seeing the glass as half full or half empty, we could see it as it truly is--filled to overflowing? We live in a world of true abundance and in this moment, it is perfectly acceptable to spill your milk.

  • What if instead of living in fear of how much we could lose, we lived in recognition and gratitude of how much we have? Everything we need, long for and desire is just a breath away. It is either within and emanating from us or it is in the faces, hearts, and souls of those around us. 

  • When we are able and willing to release the burden of needing to be in control of all things all of the time, we create an atmosphere in which fear can no longer function or exist. 

  • When we can take a moment to be in the moment--in all of its abundance and beauty and imperfection, the has-been's and will-be's no longer matter. We become acutely aware that despair is a human creation. Joy, however, is a work of G-d. When we live in the truth that all we have and all we know and all we are is enough, joy is the inevitable and unmistakable result. 
In Psalm 30 it is said "when one retires at night weeping, joy will come in the morning." This is what we celebrate each morning as we arise. We heighten that celebration throughout the days of Adar and as we do so, I pray that we all have occasion and reason to go above and beyond that old "grin and bear it" mentality. Smile all you want, but don't keep it to yourself! This month and all year through, may we all grin and share it!

Chodesh tov!