Adar is the month of the happy holiday of Purim, the celebration of the miracle of the story of Esther. The Sages say that in the month of Adar, joy increases. As the days grow longer and warmer and we sense the approach of springtime, our hearts begin to rise.
Just as Eskimos allegedly have dozens of different words for “snow,” the Hebrew language has more words for “joy” than any other language. Joy is a mitzvah. The Torah says that Israel is in exile because she “did not serve the LORD your God with joy and a glad heart” (Deuteronomy 28:47).
Joy is one of the chief characteristics of the Master. Though He is called Man of Sorrows, underneath His suffering He was girded up by the eternal light of joy; “for the joy set before Him He endured the cross, despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:2).
He came to us to share His joy. He said, “I speak in the world so that [my disciples] may have My joy made full in themselves” (John 17:13). He told His disciples to keep His commandments and abide in His love so that His joy might be in us and our joy might be made full (John 15:11).
The disciples greeted the resurrection with joy. After the ascension they worshipped continually in the Temple with “great joy” (Luke 24:52). After Shavuot (Pentecost) “the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 13:52).
Paul tells us that joy is one of the principle evidences of God in our lives (Galatians 5:22). He exhorts us, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). In another place, he says, “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in the Messiah Yeshua” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Disciples of Yeshua should always endeavor to be happy. We should fight off depression and feelings of gloom, shoving them away with both hands, and cling to the joy of our Master. Let’s serve the LORD with joy and gladness of heart and bring an end to the exile. Before leaving us, the Master assured us, “I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you” (John 16:22).
May He come speedily, soon, and in our lifetimes.