We must rejoice!

Time marches on, and the holiday of Purim is already knocking on our door.

By Anat Schneider | | Topics: Purim
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish children march in their costumes through the ultra-Orthodox Meah Shearim neighborhood a few days before the Jewish festival of Purim on March 20, 2024. Photo: Chaim Goldberg/Flash90
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish children march in their costumes through the ultra-Orthodox Meah Shearim neighborhood a few days before the Jewish festival of Purim on March 20, 2024. Photo: Chaim Goldberg/Flash90

The fragrance of baking “Hamen-Taschen” cookies already wafts from kitchen windows. After they have cooled, they will be packed in decorated boxes and set out for a costume parade and gift deliveries.

This thought alone brings joy to the heart, and Purim is a holiday when we have the opportunity to bring real joy into our lives!

In the modern world we talk, read and hear a lot about happiness. Sometimes we are so busy chasing happiness that we forget to just be joyful. We forget that one of the main things that produces happiness is a feeling of joy! Joy is here all the time. All that is needed is just to turn your attention to the right things and start enjoying your existence. Joy from the little things of everyday life, starting with coffee in the morning, the chirping of the birds, the sights of nature, the voices of children, a warm home, a nutritious meal. And of course, this will also lead to a more substantial joy of creation, mission, and essence. The Jewish sages realized how important joy is for the health of the body and soul, and decided to dedicate an entire holiday to joy – Purim. (Actually, Sukkot as well).

Why is it so important to be joyful on this feast day?

How can we bring more joy into our lives throughout the whole year?

And why is joy important?

It is true that it is fun to smile and be happy, but joy exists not only for pleasure. In the human soul, joy has another role. Joy is an engine to drive processes and development. Joy has an effect on the brain and the body. And the more we persist in being joyful, the more we can eventually create a healthy and happy life for ourselves.

So why “must we rejoice”?

Health – joy is an emotion that contributes to human health, and it improves our functioning in all ways.

Optimism – when we are joyful, hormones are secreted in the brain that create positivity. These help us feel better and act better, thus filling our lives and those around us with optimism. Optimism is necessary for us to live a life of vitality, and it helps us to initiate positive processes in life.

Self-confidence – joy undoubtedly contributes to and increases our self-confidence. Why? When we feel good, we also perform better. We activate both personal tasks and relationships in a good way. Concentration abilities improve, and the way of thinking is more positive. These increase self-confidence and confidence in life.

Mental flexibility – Joy produces mental flexibility and helps us take the small and big things in life more easily.

So how will we be joyful on Purim?

On the holiday of Purim, we have the opportunity to bring joy into our lives, as the saying goes: “When the Biblical month of Adar begins, we multiply joy”! There are quite a few options that are suitable for Purim but certainly also for the rest of the year.

Dress up – on Purim we get excited with the children and help them choose costumes that will suit them and make them happy. This Purim, you can celebrate just like the children. Put on a costume. Step out of the seriousness of “grown-ups” for a moment and take part in the world of children who undoubtedly know how to be joyful better than us adults.

The truth is that for a long time I have wanted to be a queen and give orders (especially to my dear husband).  This year I am dressing up as a queen!

Music – Music is a well-known happiness factor. It is comforting, joyful, exciting and can literally change our mood. (That’s all well and good, until you hear me sing 😊)

Dance – true, it’s not easy to just burst into a spontaneous dance at home. As adults we forget the special power of dancing. But it is definitely possible to dance with the children or even learn to move with the music even while washing dishes or washing the house. I remember myself as a girl given the task by my mother to wash the house. What motivated me in these “difficult” moments was the music I put at full volume and the dances I danced while washing. Indeed, everyone benefited from it – I cleaned with pleasure; my mother received help; and the house became clean.

Laughter – It is SO good and healthy for us! It increases the joy in the heart SO much. And unfortunately, we really laugh from the heart and the stomach, SO little! Right? As if we forgot it existed. But we all have a sense of humor, and how important it is that we learn to use it and burst out laughing from time to time.

So, it is true that these months are not easy, but we are still obliged to rejoice, not only because of the scientific studies that show how important it is for the health of the body and mind. We are also obligated because above all it was said by God who is the most ingenious psychologist of all time. He is the one who knows exactly what we need to be joyful and therefore commanded us:

“This is the day that the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.”

Because in addition to everything written above, joy is first of all a commandment.

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