Halacha for Thursday 30 Adar 5779 March 7 2019

“When Adar Begins, We Increase Our Happiness”- The Procedure on A Leap Year

Today, the 30th of Adar I, is the first day of Rosh Chodesh Adar II. This year, Purim (the 14th of Adar II) will fall out on a Thursday. As we all know, Purim is celebrated everywhere on the 14th of Adar besides for walled-cities from the times of Yehoshua bin Nun (such as the holy city of Jerusalem) which celebrate Purim on the 15th of Adar which will fall out on a Friday this year.

When Adar Begins, Our Happiness Increases
The Gemara in Masechet Ta’anit (29a) tells us, “Rabbi Yehuda son of Rav Shmuel ben Shilat taught in the name of Rav: Just as when the month of Av begins we diminish our happiness, so too, when Adar begins we increase our happiness. Rav Papa says, therefore, if a Jew has a court case with a non-Jew pending, he should avoid having it during the month of Av when the Jewish nation’s fortune is bad and try to have it held during the month of Adar when the Jewish nation’s fortune is good.”

The source for this is based on a verse in Megillat Esther which states, “And the month which was switched for them from tragedy to joy,” which teaches us that the good fortune of this month brings about salvation and goodness for Israel since their fortune is optimal during this month.

The Reason Why the Jewish Nation’s Fortune Shines During Adar
Rashi on the aforementioned Gemara explains that the reason why our Sages said that when Adar begins, we increase our happiness is because these days are days when miracles occurred for the Jewish nation, referring to the miracles of Purim and Pesach. Since the time these great miracles happened to the Jewish nation, these days will forever shine in their goodness for the Jewish nation and they are auspicious for bringing tremendous bounty upon them.

The Sefer Sefat Emet (on Ta’anit ibid.) explains that it is possible that since during the month of Adar during the eras of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and the first and second Bet Hamikdash the Half-Shekel coins were collected in the Bet Hamikdash and the Jewish nation donated them joyously, there was a spirit of great joy in the world. Until this very day, from the time Parashat Shekalim is read in the synagogue (on the Shabbat of or preceding Rosh Chodesh Adar), a great joy is awakened in the world.

First or Second Adar
In any event, since the primary reason for joy during the month of Adar follows the explanation of Rashi which is due to the great miracles that occurred during this time of year, it certainly follows that this joy applies specifically to the second Adar preceding the month of Nissan, for it is the primary Adar during which Purim is celebrated. Although some say (based on the Talmud Yerushalmi) that the miracle of Purim happened on a leap year in the first Adar, nevertheless, the commentaries on the Yerushalmi (Korban Ha’Edah and Penei Moshe) explain that the miracle of Purim actually occurred in the second Adar. Thus, we too shall begin to increase our joy beginning from Rosh Chodesh Adar II. May Hashem grant us a spirit of joy, sanctity, and purity and may we merit witnessing the arrival of our righteous Mashiach and the Ultimate Redemption, Amen!

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