Rabbi Miriam's Blog
The month that was reversed from grief to joy. -Esther 9:22
When the month of Adar enters, we increase in joy. -Talmud, Taanit 29a
There are many joyous dates on the Jewish calendar, but only Purim affects the entire month, causing it to be auspicious and joyous. What is the intrinsic connection between Purim and Adar?
Haman successfully pinpointed the moment when the Jews were at their lowest point and chose to take advantage of it. After nearly a millennium of freedom, independence, and constant reliance on miracles, Jews were now banished from their land, helpless and seemingly at the mercy of the laws of nature. This was a completely new experience for the Jewish nation. The Temple in Jerusalem laid in ruins. Jeremiah's prophesy that after seventy years of exile God would return the Jews to their land and rebuild the Temple. had not happened. "The timing has never been better," Haman thought.
"Surely the Chosen People have lost their exalted status. Now is the perfect moment to implement the Final Solution."
Haman needed one more sign indicating the Jews' vulnerability.The lottery provided the exact sign he anxiously awaited."My lottery fell on the month when Moses died," he exclaimed. The demise of Moses, the "head" of the Jewish nation, was surely a metaphor for the demise of the
entire nation. The Talmud tells us that Haman was overjoyed by this favorable omen. He designated Adar to be the month when his nefarious plan would be put into motion. But Haman and his plan still did not succeed.
We were exiled and downtrodden due to our wrong doings and God still intervened on our behalf, as was demonstrated by the Purim miracle. This phenomenon demonstrates the durability of our relationship; the ability of our essential identity to survive no matter our external state.
It seems like our perpetual relationship with God is more evident when we are exiled and downtrodden. The same is true with our nation. We have ups and downs, both spiritually and materially, but our very identity, is never affected.
All other holidays celebrate the "highs" of our nation. Purim celebrates a time when we were at a low point in our history – but our relationship with God remained intact. Its joy is therefore greater than the joy of any other holiday, because it demonstrates the essential nature of our relationship with God, and that is a constant.
Ahavat Torah of West Los Angeles
About Rabbi Miriam
Rabbi Miriam E. Hamrell MHL, M.Ed., has served as our religious and spiritual leader at Ahavat Torah Congregation and helped it grow since it was founded in 2003.