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Parashat Vayikra-Zachor


The Talmud teaches us that when the month of Adar (in which Purim falls) begins, we increase our joy (Ta’anit 29).

Words of our sages are not empty slogans but practical life lessons. So, what is the deeper meaning of this well-worn statement?

To understand its meaning we have to see the source of this description of Adar being the ‘happy’ month. It is referenced in Megillat Esther when we witnessed the obliteration of our sworn enemies and the Jewish nation experienced ‘light and happiness’ (Simha).

The world is so complex and so full of apparent contradictions. On the one hand, our world is filled with intricate order and awesome beauty, yet at the same time, there is so much chaos and incomprehensible turmoil. At times, this confusion can lead a person to despair and gloom.

King Solomon said, “The world has no joy like the resolution of doubts, free of anxiety,” (Mishlei).

If a person is in a state of doubt, then his personality is sad and diminished. Therefore, resolving one’s state of confusion is the key to a happy heart because there is no joy in the world like letting go of doubts.

In our world, we see that chaos and order in fact do co-exist and that each one has a purpose. We are meant to meet the challenges presented by life and to find inspiration in the beauty and joy that we see.

Every so often, G-d opens the gates wide enough to give us a message that can sustain us when things seem hopeless. The message is: “I am here now, as I have been all along, and I will always be here for you. Not just when the sea splits, but also in the darkest of days.”

And this is the essential message of Purim and a vital life lesson.

It is the joy felt seeing the light of order in a world of chaos. For the Jewish nation living through the story of Purim, they felt like they were headed towards annihilation and destruction. In hindsight, it is clear that G-d was controlling the world and that the chaos seen were just pieces of a bigger and more complex puzzle of redemption. When Queen Vashti was overthrown as queen, it was really the precursor to Jewish redemption and this clarity did and still does bring us joy.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Shaul