משנכנס אדר מרבין בשמחה
“When Adar enters, our joy increases.” Ta’anit 29a
Adar is one of my favorite months. I love the laughter, the silliness, and the hamentashen. As a congregational rabbi and later, as a day school rabbi, I spent hours on costumes and creative “services.” As a hospice chaplain, the year that Purim fell on our hospice Interdisciplinary Team meeting day, I organized a pot-luck Purim seudah (the festive meal,) and the whole team came in costume.
This year, however, I have not been feeling the Adar joy. The temperature is frigid. The snow on either side of my front walk is taller than I am. I drive to work and I see buildings engulfed in ice. Everywhere I go, I see people and machinery on rooftops, shoveling, bagging and removing snow, chopping icicles.
As I’ve been hearing about homes without heat, with frozen pipes, and water leaks, I keep thinking: We think our homes are strong and study. We think they’ll protect us from the elements. And, for the most part, they are and they do. But really, as solid as our homes appear to be, they’re nothing more than fancy sukkot, fragile dwellings, where we spend our temporary days on the planet.
It’s hard to think of Purim when your soul is living in a sukkah.
But as I’ve been thinking this, I remembered that Sukkot is z’man simchateinu, the season of our joy. The holiday when we spend our time eating (and sleeping) outdoors in fragile booths in the cold, in the rain, and, sometimes, in the snow are a time when we are commanded to be joyful.
Joyfulness may be the answer, the solution, to the bleakness that we’ve been feeling as we have been inundated, immersed, enveloped, and overwhelmed with snow and ice. I may not yet be feeling the Adar joy, but as Adar enters, I am going to grab it by both hands. I’m going to push back against the impermanence of life and dance my way through the snow knowing that we are headed into the spring.