These days, you can order almost anything and have it delivered to your door, in a relatively short amount of time.

Unfortunately, emotions don’t work that way. A person can’t just snap his fingers and feel differently. If anyone could, and knew how to teach that to others, he would become rich very quickly.

What then is the meaning behind the beloved words of the Gemara that when Adar enters, we increase joy? What is the source and objective of the added joy?


Zevi meets his friend Ari after not seeing him in some time. After catching up a bit, Zevi tells Ari that he is on his way to an upscale wedding, and he invites Ari to come with him so they could continue schmoozing. Ari is hesitant because he doesn’t know anyone there. But Zevi convinces him that it will be a wedding worth attending.

Indeed, the wedding was an affair to remember. The decor, food, band, and energetic dancing were simply incredible. As they are leaving, Zevi asks Ari if he’s happy that he came. Ari replies that although it was a beautiful event, he would rather have not come. He explains that aside from the fact that he wasn’t invited to the wedding, aside for Zevi, he didn’t know anyone else who was there. Although everything was magnificent, he felt out of place all night long. When one knows he doesn’t belong, he can’t truly enjoy being there.


Throughout the year, many people feel they don’t measure up and, therefore, don’t deserve to be counted among certain other Jews. They feel like they’re not holy enough to sit in the sukkah, don’t deserve to be redeemed from their personal exiles, and their acceptance of the Torah leaves something to be desired.

On Purim, however, no Jew can feel that he/she doesn’t belong or doesn’t have a right to celebrate.

I’ll prove it:

Imagine Haman (Hitler) is walking down a dark alleyway and sees a Jewish teenager hanging out there, engaging in negative behaviors. Haman immediately draws his sword to kill the young Jew. The Jew looks at Haman and says, “I think you’ve got the wrong guy. You see, Haman, I’m not a very good Jew. I don’t daven or learn much, and I haven’t put on t’filin in months. But I have some friends who learn a lot of Torah and daven with a lot of concentration. Those are the guys you really want!”

What would Haman reply?

Undoubtedly, he would laugh and say that he doesn’t have the wrong person at all. “If you’re a Jew, then you are vermin of the earth and are to blame for all the world’s problems, and, therefore, must be destroyed.”

Purim celebrates v’nahafoch hu, the uncanny turnabout of events. When Haman’s decree was overturned, whoever was slated to be killed by the decree had the right to celebrate. If we had been targeted to be killed solely because we are Jews, then we have the right to celebrate solely because we are Jews!

Haman taught us that there is something unique about every Jew simply because we are privileged to be part of the eternal people. Haman viewed every one of us as vile and evil. But we understand that our uniqueness makes us special.

When Adar enters and the holiday of Purim appears on the horizon, we feel a sense of joy because we recognize that this holiday and celebration are personal. No matter what negative things we have done or how derelict we have been in our observance, Purim speaks to us on a personal level.

True, we cannot be happy on demand. But if we contemplate and reflect upon the essence of the holiday, it’s impossible that we won’t be uplifted. Thus does the Gemara state that when Adar enters – enters into our hearts and minds – we feel a surge of joy.

Rabbi Dani Staum, LMSW, a rebbe at Heichal HaTorah in Teaneck, New Jersey, is a parenting consultant and maintains a private practice for adolescents and adults. He is also a member of the administration of Camp Dora Golding for over two decades. Rabbi Staum was a community rabbi for ten years, and has been involved in education as a principal, guidance counselor, and teacher in various yeshivos. Rabbi Staum is a noted author and sought-after lecturer, with hundreds of lectures posted on He has published articles and books about education, parenting, and Torah living in contemporary society. Rabbi Staum can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. His website containing archives of his writings is