When Adar arrives, we increase our joy. (Talmud – Taanit 29a)
Moses was born and died on the seventh day of Adar. What is his mystical connection to this month? In many ways, Moses can be considered a "complete" person. He reached the highest level of holiness that a human can reach. He attained the highest level of prophecy, past and future.
Similarly, Adar is the last of the months on the Jewish calendar, and in this way represents completion.
The sages say that Adar is the best month to try to remove your personal barriers to holiness. And by removing those barriers, you create the potential for the greatest joy. Moses, because of his high level of achieved holiness, had a potential for a high level of joy. (This joy may actually have been the conduit for his high level of prophecy.) Maimonides writes that it's not the prophecy that makes the person holy, it is the holiness a person possesses that makes him or her fitting to receive prophecy.
The sages say that prophecy can only come to someone who is happy. Jeremiah, Samuel, King David and others were not moping around in a bad mood when they received prophecy. Tradition says that some of the prophets even used music to help put them in an elevated mood in order to experience prophecy.
True happiness is not achieved by satisfying our physical desires, as the body would have us think. Just as the prophet uses music to lighten his mood in order to access the spiritual world, true happiness comes through using the pleasures of this world to elevate our consciousness in order to bind our thoughts to spirituality.
God would love a world filled with happy people. But joy is not merely an end in itself. It is a tool for higher states of consciousness. One of the most famous kabbalists who ever lived was called the Holy Ari. When asked by his disciples how he reached such a level of holiness, the Ari replied, "It is because of the intense joy I feel when doing a mitzvah."
Another indication of this idea is that the kabbalists connect the letter "kuf" to the month of Adar, and link it to the word "kadosh" which means holy. A person who experiences true joy is lifted above the mundane, and is able to see the world in a more elevated way. It is the "yetzer hara," that side of us that relates more to the body than the soul, which actually desires depression and leads us there. Joy is increased when we focus on our blessings. Depression is increased when we focus on what we lack. We have the power to choose between the two.
Consider how many blessings we take for granted. People who can walk rarely say to themselves, "Thank God I can walk." Christopher Reeves is around to remind us that not everyone can walk. Anyone who can walk should say to God every day, "Thank you for giving me the ability to walk."
JUMP INTO THE SEA
The astrological sign of this month is Pisces, the fish. Pisceans tend to be on the spacey side, slightly out of touch with the physical world. Sometimes this quality is what it takes to connect to spirituality and holiness.
The best way to reach holiness is through the wisdom of the Torah. That is why the symbol of the month is fish. Fish are surrounded by water, which is a symbol for the wisdom of Torah. A fish cannot survive on a sip of water; it must be engulfed by it. Our goal should not just be to taste spirituality, but to be completely absorbed in it.
POWER TO SUCCEED
Adar is characterized by joy because it is the month of transforming dread into joy. Adar was the month that Haman selected for grief and mourning, but for the past 2,400 years it has instead been a time of Jewish rejoicing and celebration. In 1991, when Saddam Hussein tried to rain missiles down on Israel, he was defeated on Purim day.
Adar contains the power to succeed against an opposing force, both on a national level and on an individual level. If you look inside yourself and recognize your worst enemy -- whether it is anger, confusion, pride, or jealousy -- this is the month in which you may conquer it. When you see God's hand in your life -- and realize how He gives you the potential to defeat your enemies, then you have discovered the source of life's greatest joy.
This Adar, may we be inspired to conquer enemies -- whether they come from afar, or from deep inside ourselves. That is the great opportunity of this month.