Increasing Our Happiness During Adar
The Gemara in Taanis (29a) teaches us that Mishenichnas Adar Marbim Bâ€™simcha, when Adar begins we increase our happiness. Rashi comments that â€œPurim and Pesach were days of miracles for Yisraelâ€ and therefore Adar and Nisan are joyous months. Letâ€™s take a brief dive into the Torah concept of happiness so that we can maximize our joy during this wondeful time.
What is Happiness
The Maharal in his commentary to Mishna 6.1 in Avos teaches that happiness flows from completion just as grief is the result of loss and deficiency. Happiness takes many forms. When we crave a favorite food, attaining it creates a sense of completeness, and generates happiness. Much of our lives is composed of wanting things, getting them, and achieving a small dose of happiness as a result. When we do the right thing in a difficult situation, we feel more complete in the use of our strengths and capabilities, and this generates happiness.
Happiness from Love
When we feel connected to friends and family through the emotion we call love, we feel more complete and happy. The Chovos HaLevovos, the Mesillas Yesharim and the Rambam teach that love of Hashem generates the highest sense of completion and therefore the greatest pleasure and happiness.
The higher, love-based levels of happiness take more time and effort to attain, are deeper, and are high Torah priorities. â€œLoving Hashemâ€ and â€œLoving Your Neighbor as Yourselfâ€ are two cornerstone mitzvos. When we appreciate the miracles that Hashem did for us on Purim and Pesach, we deepen our connection and love of Him, which increases our sense of completion and our happiness. It takes thought, focus and effort, but we are all capable of developing a love and a connection to Hashem and of enjoying the resulting happiness.