What makes you happier?

  • RabbiNossel
Great news! From this week onwards, we’re going to be happier.
by Rabbi Dr David Nossel | Feb 27, 2020

Why? Because we have just welcomed the Jewish month of Adar, and our sages tell us, “When Adar enters, we increase our happiness.”

Now that we’ve heard the good news, aren’t we joining all those people who are breaking out into song with the sages’ original Hebrew words, “Mishenichnas Adar marbin besimcha? (When the month of Adar arrives, we increase our joy!)

Have we not put up decorative posters on our front doors emblazoned with these wonderful words? And if we’re not the singing or decorating type, aren’t we at least happier for having heard this good news?

If not, something sagacious has gone very wrong. Somewhere, we’ve lost the plot.

It’s likely to be the following: we have bought into a paradigm, a view of life, that sees happiness as a response. According to this paradigm, we can be happy only if something has happened to make us so. Accordingly, we need to find something that happens with the entrance of Adar that makes us happy. And what is that something? Is it Purim? No, that’s not at the entrance of Adar. It only happens about two weeks later. So what is it?

To tap into the wisdom of the sages is to realise that the only thing that happens when Adar enters is just that: Adar enters. And that itself makes us happier.

This is how Adar does it. The Hebrew word adar means mighty. We find a form of this word used at a chuppah when Mi adir (Who is mighty? [referring to G-d]) is traditionally sung. An aderet is a cloak of mightiness. The month of Adar is a ritual reminder of a valuable virtue: to be mighty.

If we’re mighty, we realise that being a happier person doesn’t depend on external circumstances. Happiness isn’t a reaction, it's a “pro-action”, a choice we make in life.

If we’re truly mighty, we know that we need to muster up our might to adopt an attitude of happiness in our lives.

If we’re truly mighty, we carry our own inextinguishable and indefatigable supply of happiness around with us.

When Adar enters, say our sages, we increase our happiness.

When the month of mightiness enters, we are reminded that mightiness allows us to generate not only our own electricity, but far more importantly, our own happiness.

This is what brings us to celebrate, sing, and place a poster on our front and fridge doors (and generators). For what greater news can there be than this?

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