Every year, Jews around the world celebrate the holiday of Purim. We go to synagogue, listen to the miraculous story of Jewish survival in exile twice, go home, give gifts to people, both our neighbors and to the poor and eventually sit down to a festive meal. The day itself is a day of joy. Of course, as many know, the whole month of Adar is supposed to be one of joy, culminating in this day of celebration. However, why should we joyful during Adar? I can understand being joyful on Purim. G-d, through a hidden miracle, saves the Jews from the plot of Haman to wipe out all Jews from Hodu to Cush. But how is it that this joy carries out through the entire month, especially before the 14th day of the month?
The Shlah (Shnei Luchot HaBrit), Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz, in his discussion on Masechet Megillah, discusses the happiness of Purim. One should approach the commandments of Purim with joy in one’s heart because this joy will awaken in one’s heart a connection with G-d. Purim is the day when the Jews finish accepting the Torah, which Rava says (Shabbat 85a) finished in the days of Ahashverosh, for it says in Megillat Esther: “Qimu V’Qiblu HaYihudim.” In other words, we accept that which we already received.
It is the day of Purim when we become a nation accepting, without outside influence, the Torah as presented by G-d to Moses on Har Sinai. We rejoice over not simply our survival, but also for completing the acceptance of Torah. Our happiness is like the happiness we experience every year on Simchat Torah, the day we complete the reading of the yearly cycle of the Hamisha Humshei Torah. Therefore, the joy of Adar is the joy of anticipating this day of completion and then the affects afterwards, when we spend the remainder of the month, post Purim, in preparation for Passover, the celebration of our redemption. And it is fitting that the preparation for Pesach consists not only of cleaning and baking, but also of learning, starting 30 days before the festival, the laws of Passover. Therefore, may our Purim be joyous and may that joy continue to guide us until Passover, where we are obligated to see ourselves as if we were redeemed from slavery.