From the SOY President’s Desk: Be Happy, It’s Adar
In my years here at Yeshiva University, during the spring semester, I have always felt a sense of “Mishenichnas Adar, marbim b’midterms" — when Adar enters, we increase our midterms. However, as we all know, the actual phrase of this parody is the Gemara in Ta’anit 29a: “Mishenichnas Adar, marbim b’simcha" — When Adar enters, we increase our happiness. This is the goal of Adar, as it can serve as a building block for the excitement of Purim, one of the most exciting days of the year, and really get our spirits up. But again, because we are all swamped with midterms, we never actually feel Purim approaching, and it blindsides us as we are about to fast on Taanit Esther. Only then do we realize that we need to truck on down to the local supermarket to pick up some candy and cookies to give out for mishloach manot. Only while we are fasting do we realize that we need to make plans for the Purim seudah and that Rabbi Simon has been trying to collect money for matanot la’evyonim, and only then do we realize that we should have looked at the megillah to try and understand what the holiday of Purim is about.
Now, this is not without reason. Many acharonim, including the Chayei Adam and Magen Avraham, quote the idea that if you have a court case against a non-Jew, you should try and have it done in Adar because of the fact that Adar is a month of happiness. As it says in the megillah, “v’hachodesh asher nehepach la’hem miyagon l’simcha,” and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to gladness (Esther 9:22). Applied to our discussion, just like we should arrange our court cases and be judged in Adar in a way that is favorable, so too we should be judged on our midterms in Adar favorably.
However, I think that we also need to take the statement at face value. In these past two years, it has been so hard to feel the “mishenichnas Adar, marbim b’simcha” because of the fact that we don’t see the big picture on a day to day basis. We get so bogged down with tests and all of our other work, and we are so focused on the moment that we are living in, that we forget that it is already Adar and we are supposed to be experiencing the simcha of this special time.
Last year, I decided that I wanted to start the Adar joy in advance, so a friend and I decided to have “dress-up” days leading up to Purim. We had NCSY Day, Trash Day, Nerd Day and a few more, and we had a great time. The people around us, on the other hand, gave us looks of confusion. They asked why we were dressed as we were. We naturally told them that we were prepping for Purim and helping with the build-up and the hype. However, looking back, we were doing more than just building up Purim. We were actively attempting to create a joyful atmosphere on campus. We were trying to create a happier environment for ourselves and those around us. We were trying to fulfill the idea of “mishenichnas Adar, marbim b'simcha.” Yes, there were tests, and yes, we both had tons of work to get done, but it was Adar, so we planned these dress-up days anyway.
This year, the Student Organization of Yeshiva (SOY) is looking to make Adar a fantastic, special time. We are working to create many programs and activities, such as a hilarious game show night, midnight madness for no reason and a poppers-and-kugel Thursday night pump up event before Shabbat Zachor. We are looking into making our buildings more festive by hopefully adding balloons and streamers to the halls of Furst and Belfer. All of this, to not only get ourselves mentally prepared for the excitement that Purim brings on its own, and not only to remind ourselves that we have lots to do to get ready for Purim, but to bring to campus the words of that gemara, “mishenichnas Adar, marbim b’shimcha”. There is no reason that we should blind ourselves to the time of year just because we have shiur and classes. There is no reason that we should only be feeling swamped by the workload that our professors have given us. We should be energized and enthused by the fact that it is the most exciting month of the year.
It really is going to be an amazing time this year, and we should all be looking forward to such an awesome month, and live with the mantra: “Be Happy, It’s Adar.”
Photo caption: The 2019 Wilf Campus Purim chagiga
Photo credit: Yeshiva University