It’s Adar; reconciling happiness and depression

Posted on February 22, 2007

I never really thought about this until this year, but how do we reconcile the fun and good-natured wish of, be happy–it’s Adar! with the fact that some people have really good reasons for being unable to be happy and are not necessarily in control of whether they are happy or not? When I’m in the midst of a depression, I simply cannot just be happy.

It’s everywhere now, on signs and emails and web sites and mailings from the shul. I so want to be happy, whether it’s Adar or not, but there’s only so much I can do. And I dread walking into shul and being met with a cheery smile and a why aren’t you happy? It’s Adar! Be happy!

I’m not saying we shouldn’t encourage the increase of happiness, or that we should ban the signs and the greetings out of some politically correct concession to those who have every reason to be unhappy. Not at all. At the same time, I’m wondering if we’re asking everyone to fake it ’til you make it. Just what do we mean by, be happy–it’s Adar!

I just wonder how we reconcile it. Or if we do. And if we don’t, why not?


  1. Rivka

    All: thank you, I’m doing better, baruch Hashem! Thank G-d for effective medication. There is more to say, but I am still getting my strength back so I will save a new original post for when I have a little more energy. Meanwhile, My life in lyrics II is how I felt this evening.

  2. Jack Steiner

    Haven’t seen anything new here and wanted to say that I hope you are doing well.

  3. Unknown

    Have a wonderful, freilichen Purim!

  4. Anonymous

    Maybe “happiness” is not the best word for what you do actually do in Adar, perhaps “frivolity” or “spontaneity” is closer…

    And in any case you’re not doing anything wrong by not being happy – Adar is just an opportunity. Take it if you can.

  5. mother in israel

    Thinking of you, and hope you are doing well.

  6. Anonymous

    In Adar, spiritually you can reach heights of greatness in happiness since you see the hand of gd in the survival of the Jew. On a personal level, if we absorb the ideal of gd’s eternal love for us, this can and should bring happiness. Does it, is another question?

  7. Anonymous

    oooh boy do I hear you.

    Esp. when Adar means that P***** is looming.


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