Everyone knows we have to be joyful in Adar: “Mi’shenichnas Adar Marbin be’simcha”.
But what does this actually mean? Is it halacha (Jewish law), or is it just a suggestion? Are there any practical ramifications, and if so what are they? In a leap year, does the instruction to be joyful only apply to the second month of Adar, or does it also apply to the first?
Why is the whole month of Adar included, if the miracles only occurred on Purim and Shushan Purim – why should any other day of Adar be particularly joyful? And why are we not told to be extra happy during the month of Nissan, when the Exodus occurred, or during the month of Sivan, when we received the Torah – why is Adar singled out?
Rabbi Dunner looks at the original source in the Talmud that discusses increasing joy during Adar, and at the many rabbinic commentaries that have tried to make sense of this unique instruction – an instruction that is unparalleled anywhere else in Jewish tradition.