Purim – Learning Ideas

“מִשֶּׁנִּכְנָס אֲדָר מַרְבִּין בְּשִׂמְחָה”

“When Adar arrives, we increase our joy”

An act performed without joy and enthusiasm can not be compare to an act performed with joy and enthusiasm.

How do we express joy?

We smile, dance, sing or play music.

Our sages say: “Greater is the man who whitens his teeth to his friend (
meaning: greeting his friends with a smile) than one who gives him a drink of milk”! to this extent is the effect of a smile on one’s mood.

 R. Beroka … used to frequent the market … where Eliyahu Ha’Navi (Elijah the prophet) often appeared to him. Once he asked [Eliyahu Ha’Navi], is there any one in this market who is destined for the life of the world to come? …Whilst [they were thus conversing] two [men] passed by and [Eliyahu Ha’Navi] remarked, These two are destined for the life in the world to come. R. Beroka then approached and asked them, What is your occupation? They replied, We are jesters, when we see men depressed we cheer them up; furthermore when we see two people quarrelling we strive hard to make peace between them. (Talmud – Mas. Ta’anith 22a) 

There is a famous story about a sad king, whose doctor advised him to wear the coat of a happy man and that will cure his depression. When the king finally found a happy man, it turned out that the poor man did not even have a coat … We find a similar message in the folk tale about the fisherman, who caught a gold fish, which allowed him to ask three wishes. Although the wishes were fulfilled one by one, he was not happy about it … We will emphasize to the children that joy is not dependent only on external things (although they may add to the atmosphere). Happiness comes from the heart, without external factors, and depends on the person himself.

It is not enough that we read and tell children about happiness. This subject, as all other feelings, can only be taught by personal experience. When children see that even when things go wrong (eg, an event has been canceled because of the weather), and parents / educators try to see only the positive side – that is the best lesson in happiness!