Double your joy - be happy AND be generous

Double your joy—be happy AND be generous.

It’s Adar, the month of Purim. This is a holiday we take very (wink) seriously at HBT. We put a lot of effort into fulfilling the rabbinic statement “when Adar begins, joy increases.”

This year is extra special, because it’s a Leap Year. You know that we add an extra day in February this year. That day compensates for the fact that a solar year isn’t 365 days long. It takes the earth precisely 365¼ days to circle the sun. Every four years we add that extra day.

We also add an extra month to the Jewish calendar this year. That month compensates for the loss of time resulting from our lunar calendar, which is only 354 days long. The Jewish year doesn’t keep in sync with the secular year, but the rabbis created software centuries ago to ensure that our calendar is in tune with the seasons.

Pesach has to take place in the springtime (sometime between late March and late April). Sukkot has to arrive before Israel’s rainy season (late September to late October). To make that happen, the rabbinic calendar software inserts a leap month seven times within a 19-year cycle. The leap month is always Adar II (Hebrew: Adar sheni)

Our joy increased with Rosh Hodesh (the New Moon) Adar I, which happened on February 10. Adar II will begin on March 11, and Purim will arrive on the evening of March 23.

This gives us a double-dose of joy

What do we do when we have more than we need? We share! Two of the mitzvot of Purim are about giving. We give shalach manot, hamantashen & sweets, to our friends. We also give matanot l’evyonim, gifts to the poor. While we are having fun playing at the carnival (March 20), hearing the megillah (March 23) dressing up in costumes, raucously singing, stamping, and drowning out Haman’s name, we can also share our joy with others. Just as we break a glass at the most joyous moment of a wedding to remind us that our world is still broken, we give to others at this time of great celebration.

HBT makes it easy for you to do all of these things. This year, we’d like the entire congregation to Be Happy and Be Generous. From February 26 through March 23, every dollar that goes into the tsedaka boxes at the temple—whether in classrooms or the chapel or the office—will be designated for Yad Chessed. Yad Chessed, the “hand of loving-kindness,” supports Jewish individuals and families by alleviating economic distress and helping them reach financial stability.

On Purim, Yad Chessed collects from every synagogue and gives gifts to their clients, to ensure that they have a joyous Purim too.

Last year, HBT members raised $200 for Yad Chessed’s Purim Mitzvah Program. Our goal this year is $360. Adults and children are urged to bring a gift for Yad Chessed next time you’re in the building. (On Shabbat, you can leave an envelope marked “Yad Chessed” in the mailbox by the office.)

Be Happy and Be Generous! Share your double-dose of joy!

Posted on February 25, 2016 .