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Mi’shenichnas Adar marbim b’simcha – With the start of the month of Adar, we add to our happiness,” which means that this year we have a double dose of happiness, since there’s a Jewish leap year, which contains two months of Adar. It is interesting that when the scholars discuss how to increase one’s joy, they offer ideas such as learning Torah, for there is no joy like the learning of Torah. Others suggest drinking a little wine, since wine gladdens the hearts of men.

When reflecting on these ideas, I had another thought. Perhaps the sages are recommending that with the onset of Adar, we should make an increased effort at making other people happy. After all, this is the season of mishloach manos and matonos l’evyonim, sending presents to our friends and giving gifts to the poor. It is the time when Mordechai and Esther strove to reunite the Jewish people in brotherly love.


Thus, we can suggest that Adar is the time to research ways to bring one’s spouse more happiness. The very beginning of this pursuit is finding some available time to spend with your mate. I know many couples who are so weary from the grind of commuting to work, making a livelihood, chauffeuring the children, doing homework, paying bills, running errands, cleaning, cooking, doing the laundry and attending all kinds of simchos, that all they have left is physical and mental collapse. Adar is a good time for a reality check. Am I living up to the commitment I made under the chuppah to ensure my life-mate’s happiness? During these two Adars, find the time to ask your spouse for a report card on your relationship. It will be a springboard to discuss how you can improve at making each other happier.

Then, there are the children. The old adage, the best present you can give to your children is more of your presence, is an extremely vital concept. So too is the famous acronym for the word “family” – “Father and Mother I Love You.” How much do we invest in our children’s happiness? Do we spend money on the foods that they like, time on the trips that they look forward to, clothing that they will enjoy and shoes that they hope for, vacations that they dream about, or shidduchim that they worry about? Are we there for them?

Of course, we must always consider our parents! For grownups, it’s especially easy to forget our responsibilities, since they aren’t in front of us. The Gemara tells us, “That which is not in front of us is easy to forget.” But the Fifth Commandment demands from us to be forever vigilant in increasing our parents’ joy. Sharing our accomplishments with them and taking the time to visit, to call or even to email or text, is a sure way to increase the happiness of those who are responsible for our very existence.

Last but not least, we shouldn’t forget the advice of the Rambam: There is no greater joy than gladdening the hearts of the widow and the orphan, the poor, and the convert, by making time for the lonely, for cheering up the elderly, the ill, and the forlorn. These are sure ways to make our two Adars truly meaningful. May it be the will of Hashem that we merit to make many people happy and in that zechus, may we be blessed with long life, good health, and all kinds of happiness.


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