Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Mishenichnas Adar Marbim BiSimcha

The Gemara in Taanis 29a states: Mishenichnas Adar marbim bisimcha, when Adar arrives, one should increase in joy. The question is asked, what does marbim mean? I heard a vort from Rabbi Ari Kostelitz, Shlita, Rav of Congregation Dovid Ben Nuchim-Aish Kodesh in Oak Park, MI. The month of Adar is symbolized by the mazal of Dagim. The mazal of most months are referred to in the singular. For example, the month of Nissan is symbolized by the mazal of teleh, sheep. Why is the mazal of Adar referred to in the plural, dagim, and not dag? The answer is that Adar is a time when one should increase in simcha in all areas. I would like to suggest an alterative approach based on the same premise. In the Megillah it is said al kein karu layamim haeilu Purim al sheim hapur al kein al kol divrei haigeres hazos, therefore, they called these days “Purim” for the word “pur.” Therefore, because of all that was written in this letter. One must wonder why the Megillah keeps on using the words al kein. Perhaps the answer is that Rashi writes regarding the birth of the shevatim that any shevet of whom it is aid al kein denotes that they were merubah beuchlusin, many in population. Thus, the Megillah is alluding to the idea that the reason this festival is called Purim is because it is a time when we are supposed to increase our joy, our giving to one another, and most importantly, our praise to HaShem. It is noteworthy that the commentators state that Purim is also a day for Torah study. In the Maariv prayers we recite the words Ahavas olam bais Yisroel amcha ahavta Torah umitzvos chukim umishpatim osanu limadeta, al kein HaShem Elokeinu bishachveinu uvkumaeinu nasiach bechukecha, with an eternal love have You loved the House of Israel, Your nation. Torah and commandments, decrees and ordinances have You taught us. Therefore, Hashem, our G-d, upon our retiring and arising, we will discuss Your decrees etc. What is the meaning of the words al kein? It is said (Vayikra 26:8) veradfu mikem chamisha meah umeah mikem revavah yirdofu, five of you will pursue a hundred, and a hundred of you will pursue ten thousand. Rashi (Ibid) writes, is this the calculation? Five chasing a hundred is a proportion of one to twenty, whereas one hundred chasing ten thousand is a proportion of one to one hundred. This comes to teach us that it is not the same when a few people study Torah as when many study the Torah. Thus, we can suggest that we are declaring that since HaShem loves us and gave us the Torah to study, we will now study Torah in the best way possible, as the Mishnah in Avos states that one of the forty-eight ways that Torah is acquired is through group study. Purim is also a day when one should increase his Torah study, as the Gemara in Shabbos 88a states that the Jewish People were coerced to accept the Torah at Sinai. Yet, when they recognized the great miracle that HaShem wrought for them upon being saved from Haman’s schemes, they reaccepted the Torah out of love. Thus, the day of Purim is a time when one should increase his acceptance of the Torah and he should also increase his commitment towards Torah study. When Adar arrives, one increases his joy, his performance of mitzvos and his studying of Torah.

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