Yeshiva.org.il - The Torah World Gateway
Beit Midrash Shabbat and Holidays The Month of Adar

Adar, The Joyous Month

The Month of Adar, in which the threat of destruction of the Jewish People turned into their salvation, is a time of great rejoicing.
Click to dedicate this lesson
1. G-d instructs Moshe to sweeten the bitter waters with a bitter tree.
2. Elisha heals the bad waters with salt.
3. The Vilna Gaon: The redemption will spring from within the crisis itself.
4. Adar: The tables are turned, and the Jews' ordeal became their celebration.


Since the miracle of Purim, the Jewish people have a tradition, "From the onset Adar, increase in joyousness." In this month, not only were we saved from mortal danger (of annihilation by the wicked Haman), but we actually benefited as a result of that crisis, since the stature of the Jewish people became stronger afterwards than it had been before. In fact, many times over the generations we underwent the phenomenon of "going down for the purpose of coming up" where the descent itself is the cause of a new ascent.

G-d instructs Moshe to sweeten the bitter waters with a bitter tree.
Accordingly, our sages teach us (in Midrash Shemot-Rabbah 50) regarding the prophecy of Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 30:17, "For I will restore health to you, and will heal you from your wound," that G-d's nature is completely different from that of flesh and blood. Man strikes with a spear and heals with a bandage, but the Holy One, Blessed be He, heals with the very thing with which He strikes. As the Torah says in Shemot (Exodus) 15:23, "And they came to Marah, and they could not drink of the waters of Marah since they were bitter." Rabbi Levi said: The deeds of this generation were bitter. Verse 25 relates, "And he (Moshe/Moses) cried out to G-d, and G-d showed him a tree, and he cast it in the waters, and they were sweetened." The Sages ask, "And what was this tree? One opinion is that it was an olive tree, another holds that it was a willow, yet another is that it was an oleander." That is, the tree that G-d instructed to use was a bitter one (and according to the third opinion even a poisonous one); Moshe took it and cast it in the waters, and they were sweetened. The Midrash continues, "This is what is meant by 'I...will heal you from your wound'," but with the word "from" meaning here "as the result of, by virtue of." In other words, the blow itself is the remedy; the bitter tree sweetened the bitter waters.

Elisha heals the bad waters with salt.
The Midrash continues, "We saw the same thing with Elisha the prophet, when the people of Jericho said to him, (II Kings 2:19-22) 'Behold, the settlement of the city is good, as my lord can see, however the water is bad and the land causes bereavement.' And he said to them, 'Bring me a new vial and put salt in it,' and they brought it to him. And he went out to the source of the water and cast salt into it, and said 'Thus says the Lord, I have healed these waters; no longer will there be from them death and miscarriage.' And the waters were healed until this day, according to the pronouncement which Elisha spoke.'" Again, (the same phenomenon) the salt sweetens. These are the words of the Sages.

The Vilna Gaon: The redemption will spring from within the crisis itself.
In this light, we see that the troubles themselves bring on the salvations. "And it is a time of ordeal for Jacob, and he will be redeemed from it" (Yirmeyahu 30:7). Jacob (meaning the Jewish People) will be redeemed as a direct result of the crisis itself, from which springs the deliverance. Regarding this, The Vilna Gaon says in the book Kol HaTor, "It is imperative to know in advance, that in the footsteps of Mashiach (Messiah), from every distress springs salvation, and the salvation comes from within the predicament, according to the verse, 'It is a time of ordeal for Jacob, and he will be redeemed from it.' The footsteps of the Mashiach coincide with disturbances and obstacles caused by (the forces of evil, namely) the angel of Esau and Armilus, the angel of the Eruv-Rav, but they ultimately succumb to the angel of Yosef (Joseph). Therefore, under no circumstances are we to retreat if there should be, G-d forbid, some difficulty or obstacle in the path of our service. We must be confident that through the crisis, the Jewish people will be delivered, and from the narrow straits of distress we will arrive at the broad plain of G-d's salvation."

Adar: The tables are turned, and the Jews' ordeal became their celebration.
This month, Adar, is regarded as miraculous in this way, that the distress turned into salvation. "And to the contrary, that the Jews themselves ruled over their enemies" (Esther 9:1). Therefore, from the beginning of the Adar, we increase in joyousness. And with G-d's help, we will also be delivered from today's spiritual, sociopolitical and military crisis. And by virtue of it, and from within it, please G-d, will a new era open in the redemption process: an awakening of spiritual return, establishment of Jewish settlement in the whole of the Land of Israel, and repulsion of the enemies from Eretz Israel. May this month be the termination and end of all of our troubles, and the beginning and onset of our ultimate redemption.
Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed
Rosh Yeshiva of the Bet El Yeshiva, was the head of the Yesha rabbis board and rabbi of Bet-El, founder and head of Arutz 7.
More on the topic of The Month of Adar

It is not possible to send messages to the Rabbis through replies system.Click here to send your question to rabbi.

את המידע הדפסתי באמצעות אתר yeshiva.org.il