Tradition today: A time to rejoice

The happiness of Purim in the mirror of tradition.

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February 21, 2018 20:38
A PURIM street carnival in Holon in 2015

A PURIM street carnival in Holon in 2015. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

‘Forget your troubles, c’mon get happy” are the opening words of a popular song composed by Harold Arlen, the son of a hazan (cantor). The words are quite appropriate for this season of the year, since tradition has it that once Adar begins marbim b’simha – we should increase our happiness and rejoice as we approach Purim.

Twice a year the Jewish holiday calendar tells us specifically to rejoice and be happy. The first time is Sukkot, which is called a “season of rejoicing”: “And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days” (Leviticus 23:40). “You shall rejoice in your festival, with your son and daughter, your male and female slave, the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow in your communities... and you shall have nothing but joy” (Deuteronomy 16:14-15). The rabbis attached the title “the season of our rejoicing” to Sukkot and Shmini Atzeret.

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