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September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
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Increasing Joy

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Question: The Talmud (Ta’anit 29a) notes that we should be more joyous starting from the beginning of Adar. Does this period of joy continue after Purim?

Answer: The famed halachic scholar Rabbi Abraham of Buczacz states that the period of joy lasts throughout the entire month of Adar. As proof, he cites Esther 9:22: “And the month which was turned to them from sorrow to joy…” Thus, Scripture itself supports the view that the entire month is to be filled with joy.

The seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, zt”l (Sha’arei Halacha U’Minhag, Orach Chayim, Vol. II, siman 285), points out that the directive to be joyous in Adar is not restricted to the joy of performing mitzvot. Rather, one should seek happiness in life in general.

Although the directive to be joyous in Adar lasts the entire month, the directive to be less than fully joyous in the month of Av only apparently lasts for the first half of the month. We infer this from the Talmud’s report that the 15th of Av was considered a joyous day, a semi-holiday due to numerous positive historical events that occurred on that day. This suggests that the directive to decrease one’s joy in Av only applies to the first half of the month. This makes sense in light of the general rule that the measure of goodness is greater than that of punishment (“midda tova merubba…”).

About the Author: Rabbi Cohen, a Jerusalem Prize recipient, is the author of eight sefarim on Jewish law. His latest, “Jewish Prayer the Right Way” (Urim Publications), is available at Amazon.com and select Judaica stores.


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