Monday, May 20, 2024

Purim Positivity

I think that most of us are familiar with the following two teachings of Chazal. One: Mishenichnas Adar marbin b’simcha – When the month of Adar comes, we increase our joy. Two: If one has an upcoming court case, he should try to delay it until Adar because the month contains good mazel.

What may be overlooked is the fact that the Gemara (Taanis 29a-29b) connects the two ideas. After saying, “Mishenichnas Adar marbin b’simcha,” Rav Papa says, “Therefore, a Jew who has a court case with a non-Jew…”

What is the connection? What is the “therefore”?

(To be honest, Tosafos learns that “therefore” is going back on a Gemara earlier, but I would like to suggest an alternative p’shat, taking the Gemara at face value, as seemingly implied by Rashi’s silence.)

What is the increased joy of this month of Adar? Rashi (ibid.) writes that Purim and Pesach are days of miracles for Klal Yisroel. Simply understood, we are being asked to celebrate the miracles of our past. But we can also understand that these are days ripe for our own miracles. These are days especially designed for strengthening our emunah in Hashem and anticipating Hashem’s loving response to this bitachon. We are happier during this month because we are filled with more faith in Hashem and optimism for the good that will come.

Perhaps, the good mazel of Adar itself results from our state of happiness and increased emunah. The Tzemach Tzedek famously taught, “Tracht gut vet zein gut – Think good and it will be good.” A person’s attitude changes not only his emotional experience, but the actual events taking place. When a person thinks positively, especially when it is rooted in his belief and trust in Hashem, he brings down Hashem’s blessings. Happiness is a vessel for brocha.

The Maharal explains that the teaching of Chazal (Brachos 60b), “Kol d’avid Rachmana letav avid – Whatever Hashem does is for the best,” does not mean simply that the person accepts that whatever difficulty comes his way is for the best, regardless of his ability to understand it. Rather, it means that the person proactively turns whatever challenge he is facing into something positive through his positive thinking.

For example, a person is denied a certain job. He can think that this is for the best – it is a kapparah for his sins or whatever other reason it is beneficial for him, even though he feels that he is indeed losing a good financial opportunity. This is certainly a high level of emunah. But then there is another approach. He can think that this is best for him financially as well. Hashem has a better opportunity for him. This is for the best in a way that he will be able to see. Through his bitachon, he transforms this into something that is good for him in this world as well.

Purim is a time to infuse ourselves with emunah. We need to fill our hearts with positivity and optimism. We need to fill our hearts with hope rather than despair. With our bitachon, the “Hamans” of our lives can be turned into “Mordechais.” Tracht gut vet zein gut!

  • • • • •

Rabbi Kestenbaum is the rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Gedola Ohr Yitzchak. He can be contacted at kestenbaum4@gmail.com for private appointments, speaking engagements, or parenting and teacher workshops. His daily shiurim and past articles can be found on TorahAnytime and his website, Olamhamiddos.com. Rabbi Kestenbaum is the author of “Olam Hamiddos,” “Olam Ha’avodah,” “Run After the Right Kavod” and “The Heart of Parenting.” 

 

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