PURIM: FINDING TRUE HAPPINESS!
By Sherrie B. Miller
“Meeshe Nichnass Adar, Marbim B’simcha”.
As we enter the month of Adar, we are told to increase our sense of joy and happiness!
Why is this so and how does one make this happen?
In the Western culture that we are all so subtly influenced by, happiness is achieved by acquiring possessions, “positions” (careers), fame, things that are external to us.
If this were truly so, we would not know so many who seem to “have it all” and are yet so dissatisfied and unhappy with their lot in life. In Judaism we find the opposite phenomenon: happiness is linked to something very deep and very internal, completely independent of outer circumstances. Love is the real link to inner satisfaction and ever lasting happiness.
“Ivdu et Hashem B’simcha can mean worship G-d through joy, or work toward a joyful relationship with Him. Finding real happiness is not a simple task but rather one that requires constant effort and self-awareness, yet that is precisely what makes so rewarding.
Rabbi Akiva taught us that the most essential and central principle of the Torah is “love your neighbor as yourself”. There is tremendous wisdom in these few words; these words suggest to us that it all begins with our “self”. We must be convinced of our absolute worth and value regardless of how much money I possess, how good looking or famous I am. Each of us is a spiritual being connected to the Almighty in a physical body and world. Only when we truly love our “selves”, are we capable of loving an “other”.
A-dar’s name gives us great insight into the inherent greatness that we possess. Aleph, is The One, Hashem and dar means dwells: if we make room for Him, Hashem dwells in each and every one of us, as it says in Parshat Terumah: “make me a Temple and I will dwell in them”. Our bodies are equated with the Temple and thus we carry the shecinah within us.
The Purim story proves G-d’s constant love for us, and demonstrates his constant intervention on our behalf although at times He may seem hidden. This knowledge gives us great cause to be joyful as we recognize the deep desire of Hashem to be in an intimate relationship with the Jewish people. This should implant in us a very healthy and stable sense of self-esteem.
In addition, Purim presents two opposing characters that can serve as metaphors for us in our lives: Mordechai Hayehudi and Haman Harasha. We are first and foremost “Yehudim” from the word toda, thanking Hashem for choosing us and infusing us with His greatness!
On the other hand we must fight the Amalek in us represented by Haman. What does Amalek represent? The numerical value of Amelek is 240 equivalent to the numerical value of the word “safek”, doubt. Amalek comes to make us doubtful of our capabilities and strengths and tries to have us focus on our weaknesses and fears, ultimately succeeding in neutralizing us.
Along comes Esther, a simply pious woman who chooses to step into the role of Queen and to conquer her fears, actualize her potential and change the course of Jewish history.
Like Esther, each of us can make a difference. Each of us must make a difference! G-d does not create anything that is superfluous!
So too in our dating experiences, doubts are often sabotaging us from making the ultimate commitment resulting in marriage. We may sometimes think: “is he/she the best there is or perhaps just the best that I have found until now’?
Marriage is more about “being” the best one I can be, than finding the best one there is!
One must be “be” the right person, before one can find the right person!
Sherrie B. Miller is a Jewish matchmaker on www.sawyouatsinai.com and a dating coach in Jerusalem. She received her counseling degree from the Michlala in Jerusalem and an M.A. in Jewish Education from Touro College. Sherrie is certified by Midreshet Emunah and is accredited by the Rabbanut of Israel, to be a pre-marital couple’s counselor and Kallah teacher.