It’s so easy to complain.

Sol visits Abe and sees he’s got a new dog.

“So what kind of dog is this?” asks Sol.

“It’s a Jewish dog. His name is Irving,” says Abe.

“Watch this,” continues to Abe. “Irving, fetch!”

Irving walks slowly to the door, then turns around and says, “So why are you talking to me like that? You always order me around like I’m nothing. Then you make me sleep on the floor, with my arthritis . . . you give me this farkakta food with all the salt and fat, and you tell me it’s a special diet . . . you should try eating it! . . . And do you ever take me for a decent walk? No! It’s out of the house, a few steps, and right back home. Maybe if I could stretch out a little, the sciatica wouldn’t kill me so much!”

“That’s amazing!” cries Sol.

“I don’t know,” says Abe. “I think this dog has a hearing problem. I said ‘fetch,’ and he thought I said ‘kvetch.’”

Ever since our 40-year tour in the desert, we Jews have done our fair share of complaining.

Our family is either too meddling or totally unsupportive; our community is too small to be anonymous and too big for me to be significant; the weather’s never right, our salary is insufficient, the government is useless and the country’s going to the dogs.

It’s so easy to fall into this habit, especially when we feel our complaints are justified.

How do you break the kvetch syndrome?

Judaism offers a 60-day program of outlook modification, and it launched internationally last week. It’s called the month of Adar, and this year, being a leap year on the Jewish calendar, it’s here for double the usual time!

The Talmud declares, “When Adar enters, we increase in joy.” Adar is the month of Purim, which commemorates a time when Jews had plenty to complain about. Haman threatened to kill every living Jew, and the mightiest king of that time was on his side.

Funny, those Jews didn’t complain; they became proactive. First, they united—working together is critical. Second, they prayed for a miracle—appreciating Who’s really in charge is powerful. Third, they followed Mordechai—we need strong leadership. Fourth—Esther put a pragmatic plan in motion, and saved the day.

Thanks to their proactive approach, the inevitable tragedy became instead a cause for celebration.

Each Adar, we’re offered that opportunity again. Sure, there’s much to complain about, but Adar is about joy. Joy means that you trust that things can—and will—improve. Joy means that circumstances don’t paralyze you, but that you can generate your own happiness, under any circumstances. Joy is created by working with others, trusting G‑d, learning from our spiritual leaders and doing what needs doing.

Joy comes from active participation, not from armchair grumbling.

We’ve got two months of potential simchah, joy without limitation. Let us grab the opportunity with both hands.