Parsha: Mishpatim (2024)

This Shabbat we will also celebrate Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of a new month. This new month is the month of Adar, the month of Joy. The Talmud tells us that “when the month of Adar comes, we are to increase in joy.” Simply the reason for this, is due to the joyous holiday of Purim that is in the month of Adar.

That statement is teaching us something unique, the Talmud doesn’t tell us to introduce joy, or to start being joyous, but rather is says to add in joy.

Why add? Perhaps it would make more sense to just start being joyous. What is the message here?

What we infer here is something quite powerful, which is that our default state, is joy and Happiness.

A Jew must always be joyous. As King David puts it in his book of Tehilim (Psalms), “Serve G-d with joy. So, when a joyous occasion comes around, we are simply adding in joy, because we are (meant to) be joyous all year round.

But how can we be joyous? Is there a switch for joy?

In Hebrew the word for joy that kind David used, is “בשמחה.” And the key to being joyous is hinted in that word itself. בשמחה have the same letters as מחשבה- thoughts.

It is our thoughts that cause our joy. When we fill our minds with positive thoughts this will automatically affect our mood.

If we allow our thoughts to wander into negativity this can cause us to feel down.
Putting in the effort to push away negative thoughts and looking and bringing in positive ones is the way to go.

Being constantly grateful for all our blessings in life that we have, and not taking them for granted, is one very powerful way to fill our minds with positivity. Which in return will hopefully bring us inner joy.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Zalman and Esty