A Sicha for the month of Adar

The Rebbe says:

1. The Mishnah states, “When the Hebrew month of Av begins we hold back our joy”.

The Talmud supplements the Mishnah’s statement with, “Just as when the month of Av begins we restrain our joy, so too when the month of Adar begins we increase our joy”.

2. The Rebbe now analyzes this Talmudic statement:

The Talmud’s words, “Just as when the month of Av begins we restrain our joy, so too when the month of Adar begins we increase our joy”, implies that the leading principal is the Mishnah’s clearly stated law that “during the month of Av we curtail our joy”, while the law “when the month of Adar begins we increase our joy” is only secondary.

However, this does not fit practically. The joy that we have during the month of Adar is not proportionate with the restrain we have during the month of Av; during the month of Adar we have an unbridled and unlimited joy, to the point of “not knowing the difference between blessed is Mordechai and cursed is Haman”, however during the month of Av we have a limited sadness because we are still allowed to have happiness in certain areas.

3. The Rebbe now asks a question based on this understanding of the Talmud:

As we explained earlier, the teaching of “when Adar begins we add in joy” is expounded from the Mishnah’s statement regarding the month of Av, “When Av begins we curtail our joy”. This being the case, how could the joy of Adar be stronger than the restraint we must have during the month of Av? How could the concept which is learned out be greater than the very thing it is learned out from?

4. The Rebbe now answers this question on a simple level:

The simple explanation of this is that since there is constantly the directive to “serve Hashem with joy”, which includes the month of Av; the sadness we are supposed to have during Av must be a limited sadness. On the other hand, when the month of Adar comes around and we are supposed to add to the normal directive of serving Hashem with happiness- the happiness is an unbridled happiness.

5. The Rebbe now begins explaining this on a deeper level:

As we said many times before, our mission here in this world is to fulfill Hashem’s desire to have a dwelling place here in this world. Furthermore, just as a person would dwell in his home with his entire being, so too we must make this world a proper dwelling place so that Hashem can rest here with His entire Essence and Being.

The Torah states that “Might and delight are in His place”. In other words, Hashem is only found in a place of happiness. Accordingly, if we want to make this world a proper dwelling place for Hashem’s entire Being, there must be “might and delight”; as the previously quoted directive to constantly “serve Hashem with joy” attests.

This being the case, we can understand why we must constantly be happy, even during the times specified by the Torah to be times of sadness, such as the month of Av: Since we are constantly obligated to fulfill our mission of making this world a proper dwelling place for Hashem’s entire Essence, as the Talmud states, “I was only created to serve my Master”, and Hashem only rests in a place of happiness, therefore we must constantly be happy.

6. The Rebbe now explains why the Torah demands us to restrain our happiness at certain times:

If the Torah tells us to restrain our happiness at certain times, this must also be a part of our service to Hashem.

This can be compared to a person who wishes to make a dwelling place for a king of flesh and blood. First he must clean the area of all its dirt and only then can he begin to furnish it in a way befitting for the king. In the same vein, when we wish to make a proper dwelling place for the King of all kings, we must first clean off all the dirt and grime and only then can we begin to prepare this world for Hashem to dwell in.

This is the function of the month of Av; this is when we must have a contrite heart to rid ourselves of any dirt that may be covering the light of our holy Soul.

7. The Rebbe now finishes explaining how it is possible for the directive to have unbridled joy during Adar is derived from the directive to curtail our joy during Av:
Chassidus explains that the greatest light comes specifically from the darkness.

According to this approach we can understand that the unrestrained happiness which we have during the month of Adar must come from darkness; in other words, this happiness must come from the bitterness which we experienced in the month of Av. Therefore the Talmud derives from the Mishnah’s statement, “When the month of Av begins we hold back our joy”, that, “Just as when the month of Av begins we restrain our joy, so too when the month of Adar begins we increase our joy”.

Translated and adapted by Rabbi Shalom Goldberg. Taken from Likutei Sichos volume one, pages 194 and 195.

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