By Miriam Abramovich
Each month of the Jewish calendar is said to be imbued with different qualities. Our sages teach that when the month of Adar arrives “we increase our joy.” [Ta’anit 29a] Next week on Rosh Chodesh [the head of the new month] we will welcome the second month of Adar: Adar II. This year, 5782, is a leap year which means that we receive a double-helping of Adar — bonus joy!
Constructing the Tabernacle was a sacred task and everyone was invited to contribute: “all those whose hearts are willing shall bring a gift for the Eternal.” [Exodus 35:5] This effort was reliant on all the Israelites, including the skilled labor of many female artisans. Rabbi Jill Hammer, author, educator, and ritualist, writes: “As the Tabernacle grows in beauty, every single Israelite becomes a part of the process of putting it together.” Those who felt joy and gratitude to God [or perhaps a little fear after the golden calf incident] contribute with gusto. Their joy in participating in this creative process is palpable in the text.
Reading these passages tug at my creative sensibilities. Although I do not create with clay or textile, working in the kitchen is my art — creating breads, pastries, intricate meals. I can relate to joyfully pouring myself with abandon into the art of making, when preparing for a holiday or a familial celebration. Perhaps many of you experience this sensation when, out of a creative pursuit, joy overflows. For me it is joy for the person I am celebrating, the moment in time or festival I am honoring while in the kitchen.
The poet Mary Oliver writes: “we shake with joy, we shake with grief. what a time they have, these two housed as they are in the same body.” May we each find a space in the month ahead to shake with joy, until we reach a state of joyful abundance.
If you are the parent of a young child [ages 0-12], we invite you to dive into an exploration of the themes of joy by signing up to receive a Box of Joy from LiNK Jewish Buffalo. Reserve your FREE box ($36 value) of Jewish content and activities tied to the festival of Purim HERE.
Miriam Abramovich is Chief Experience Officer for the Buffalo Jewish Federation.