Dear Reader,

This week we welcome the Jewish month of Adar. Every month possesses a distinct spiritual essence, and Adar contains the quality of transformative joy, as the Talmud teaches, “When the month of Adar enters, we increase in joy” (Taanit 29a).

On the 14th day of this month of Adar, we celebrate the holiday of Purim, the day established by Mordechai and Esther as a day of “feasting and rejoicing” in commemoration of the Jews’ salvation from Haman’s evil decree in the year 3,405 from creation (356 BCE).

Adar transforms sorrow into joy, a fearful and disunified people into a unified nation, committed and devoted to G‑d and His Torah, as we read in the Megillah, “The month that was reversed for them from grief to joy” (Esther 9:22).

We live in times that can often feel so dark and challenging. While sadness, despair or depression can hold us back and stagnate our progress towards change, happiness breaks through barriers, and helps us transform ourselves and our circumstances in ways we never thought possible.

So how can we access joy? By realizing that through our challenges, throughout our successes and our failures, our essential identity, our G‑dly soul—that piece of G‑d within us—is never affected, and remains completely pure and connected to G‑d.

Our relationship with the Master of the Universe is so deep, it rests at the very core of our being and can never be broken. In fact, even when we mess up and think we are walking away from G‑d, He anxiously awaits our return. No love could be deeper, no joy could be greater. This makes, really, every moment a moment for celebration.

In that vein, I think it is an appropriate week to introduce to you a new audio series that I’m very excited about. Women’s Tanya Classes by Rochel Shmukler is an interactive spiritual journey where you can study, discuss and apply the revolutionary ideas presented in the Tanya, a foremost work of Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism by the Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi.

The Tanya describes how we’ve been provided unlimited opportunities for our soul to connect with G‑d. Some of the topics in this series include: “The True Definition of Reality,” “Align Your Everyday Awareness with Your Core Self” and “Becoming the Embodiment of the Divine Will.”

Learning and meditating on these ideas can help us achieve true joy. When we feel sad, we feel heavy and defeated. But when we feel joyful, we become empowered to reach upwards and onwards and to become even better, more connected individuals.

Wishing you a Chodesh Tov, a happy and joyous month of Adar!

Chana Weisberg
Editor, TJW