"When Adar enters we increase in joy" (Ta’anit, 29a)

Throughout the month of Adar, we have the power to convert cynical laughter into positive and holy laughter, and anxious doubt into positive doubt.

There are five principal types of joy...

There are five principal types of joy, corresponding to the five times the Torah asks us to rejoice, above and beyond the basic Mitzvah of being happy and joyous at all times. Four of these joy ‘types’ correspond to the four letters of G‑d’s holiest name, the Yud-Hei-Vav-Hei, and the fifth level corresponds to the crown above the Yud.

1: Physical Joy

Physical joy corresponds to Shabbat and the final or ‘lower’ Hei of the Divine name. The lower Hei represents the sefira (Divine Attribute) of Malchut/ ‘nobility’. On Shabbat, we celebrate the completion of creation by resting from certain creative activities. It is a mitzvah to be joyous on Shabbat. The joy of Shabbat is one in which the entire physical self is incorporated, resting from the day and taking pleasure in it with food, drink, sleep and so forth.

2: Emotional Joy

Emotional joy corresponds to each Yom Tov/holiday, and the Vav of the four-letter Name. The Vav (the six letter in the Aleph-bet) within the Name represents the six basic emotions. The Torah tells us, "You shall rejoice on your festival, and you shall be only joyous." On Yom Tov, we can feel a heightened sense of G‑d’s love for us, for example on Pesach, when we celebrate His taking us out of Egypt. This is an emotional joy, a joy of feeling loved by the Beloved, an emotional joy.

3: Intellectual Joy

The Torah mentions three times that we should be joyous on Sukkot.

Intellectual joy corresponds to Sukkot, and the ‘upper’ Hei. The Torah mentions three times that we should be joyous on Sukkot. These three times allude to the three intellectual traits, Chochma, Bina and Daat/wisdom, understanding and knowledge. The Torah says we should sit in a sukkah-hut "l’maan daat ki b’sukkos…"/"in order that you ‘know’ that I sat you in sukkot." The idea of the holiday of Sukkot is therefore to bring Daas, deeper intellect, down into our lives. Sukkot culminates in the celebration of Simchat Torah, ‘the joy of knowing’. This is a mindful joy, a joy of being aware of your blessings and the miracles G‑d does for you the individual and you as part of the collective.

4: Spiritual Joy

Spiritual or prophetic joy is the nature of Simchat Beit Hasho'eiva, the nights of the intermediate days of Sukkot called the ‘Joy of the Water Drawing." This corresponds with the Yud of G‑d’s Name.

In Temple times, the joy of this event was so overwhelming that the sages of the time declared, "One who did not see the joy of Simchat Beit Hasho'eiva did not see joy in his life." In the Tosefot commentary on Tractate Sukkah, it is written that the word 'hashoei’eiva/drawing’, alludes to the fact that the participants drew down prophecy, as they danced with joy. On this day we can tap into ru’ach ha-kodesh, ‘holy inspiration’, and prophecy. This is a spiritual form of joy, a joy of expanded and expansive consciousness.

5: Being Joy

The joy of Purim includes all the four types of joy above, but also transcends them.

Paradox and the joy of being, is the joy related to Purim, and it is symbolized by the crown of the Yud. This crown is above and ‘beyond’ the four letters of G‑d's name, alluding to the Essence which is beyond the opposites of Divine and mundane, and yet includes them both. The joy of Purim includes all the four types of joy above, but also transcends them. This joy cannot be limited by definitions or descriptions, even by the description ‘unlimited joy’. It is beyond joy; it is joy "ad d’lo yada/until you do not know," beyond what is known as joy. On the other hand, the initial letters of the three words, ad d’lo yada, spell the word yada/‘knowing’; the joy of Purim also includes every kind of joy.

This is why our Sages say that in the Era of Moshiach, all the holidays will be nullified, except Purim (Shocheir Tov, Prov. 9). Regarding this statement, one of the foremost decisors of Jewish Law in the 20th century, Rabbi Shlomo-Zalman Auerbach, issued an interesting ruling. One aspect of Purim will indeed be nullified: the mitzvah of drinking until we transcend knowledge, ad d’lo yada.

The deeper meaning of this ruling is that now, living in exile and hardship, we need to ‘go out of ourselves’ in order to be absolutely joyous and access the realm of Keter. However, in a Moshiach reality, we will be absolutely joyous in every situation, and we will naturally embody the realm of Divine paradox. Therefore we will not need to use drink or any other means of entering transcendent states of consciousness.

...every day of Adar sparkles with the light of Purim.

Adar is the matrix that gives rise to Purim, so much so that every day of Adar sparkles with the light of Purim. So much so, that under certain circumstances the unique mitzvah of Purim–chanting the Megillah—can be fulfilled on other days during Adar, not only on the day of Purim.

May the power of this month bring true and lasting joy to all of us.

[Excerpted from The Purim Reader (Ch. 6). See//Iyyun.org]