1. 1 Our Rabbis taught, “Begin with blessing.” This is particularly appropriate in the month of Adar, a month of which it is said, “When Adar enters, we should increase our joy.” It is a month whose mazal (“source of influence”) is associated with strength and health. Hence, it is a month in which the Jewish people are granted unique blessings.

Furthermore, we find that the happiness of Adar has the potential to transform undesirable influences. This concept is reflected in our Sages’ statement “Just as when Av enters, we reduce our joy, when Adar enters, we increase our joy.” Even the undesirable factors associated with the reduction of our joy in the month of Av can be transformed into positive influences through the celebrations of the month of Adar.2 And ultimately, this will lead to the most complete celebration, the rejoicings of the Redemption.

To explain: The greatest happiness that a Jew can possibly feel is his connection with G‑d. Even as he exists within the limitations of this material world, and furthermore, as he is in exile within this world, he is still “the only son” of G‑d, King of kings. When a Jew comprehends this concept, it brings him great joy. This joy, in turn, changes the manner in which he approaches his life within the context of his worldly existence.

For the nature of happiness is that it permeates through the entire scope of the person’s existence. When a person is happy, he lives happily. This happiness affects the way he conducts his life and all the people with whom he comes in contact. He shares happiness with those around him and his happiness brings him success in all matters. And this can be openly seen in the events that transpire in the world at large.3

The connection between the month of Adar and positive influence raises a question: Our Sages teach, “Israel has no mazal,” i.e., the various different sources of spiritual influence (mazalos) do not control the fate of the Jewish people.4 If so, what relevance is there to the fact that the mazal of Adar is associated with health and strength?

This concept can be resolved as follows: The mazalos have power over the gentiles, for their fate is controlled by the natural order. A Jew, by contrast, even as he exists in this material world stands above the limits of the natural order. Accordingly, he has the power to change the workings of the natural order through his divine service and draw down positive influence.

In Adar, however, this is not necessary. In and of its own right, without the positive forces generated by a Jew’s service, Adar is a month of health and strength for the Jewish people. Moreover, these positive influences are reflected in our actual material life. Thus our Sages counseled, “When a Jew has a legal dispute with a gentile, he should postpone the judgment until the month of Adar.”

The relevance of the above concepts receives special emphasis in the present year when Rosh Chodesh Adar falls on the third and fourth days of the week d and s in Hebrew. Our Sages associate the sequence of these two letters with the phrase gommel dallim, “showing kindness to the poor.” Furthermore, when coupled together, the two letters form the word gad which means “good fortune.”

The expression gommel dallim is worthy of analysis. Seemingly, it would have been proper for our Sages to use the expression gommel rashim. For although both the words dal and rash mean “poor,” rash connotes a much direr state of poverty.

This difficulty can be resolved through the comprehension of the difference between the letters raish (ר) and daled (ד). Although their forms are similar, there is a clear difference between them. The daled possesses a yud in its right corner. This yud reflects the quality of bittul, “selflessness,” which allows for a connection to be established between the recipient (in terms of the Sefiros, the Sefirah of Malchus) and the source of influence (the Sefirah of Yesod).

Within the context of our divine service, this means that a Jew always possesses an essential Jewish spark within his soul. This in turn connects him to the source of G‑dly influence. This applies even when a Jew is in a state of poverty, dallus. Indeed, because of this influence, it is impossible for a Jew to fall into dire poverty, rashus.

This inner Divine connection was brought about by the giving of the Torah. For it was at that time that the decree separating spirituality from materiality was nullified and G‑dliness became a permanent part of the Jew’s being. And it was then, that the potential for the flow of Divine influence to the world, gommel dallim, was established.5

2. The weekly cycle of Torah portions shares parallels with the sequence of spiritual influences reflected by the times in which these portions are read. Accordingly, there is a connection between this week’s Torah reading and the uniquely positive spiritual influences of the month of Adar.

This connection becomes apparent through the resolution of an obvious question: This week’s Torah reading begins with G‑d’s command to the Jewish people to donate to the Sanctuary: “And you shall give an offering... gold, silver, and brass.” Seemingly, G‑d’s request should have been made in an ascending order, beginning with the items which every individual could easily give. Since there were differences in the levels of wealth of the Jewish people, it would appear more appropriate to begin with an item that could be given freely by all. Why then did G‑d mention gold first?6

The Jews possessed an abundance of gold at that time, for they received spoil from the Egyptians before leaving that land and also gathered great wealth after the miracles of the Red Sea. Nevertheless, we may assume that among the Egyptians from whom they took this wealth, and therefore among the Jews themselves, there were still differences between the value of gold, silver, and brass and the Jews possessed a smaller quantity of the more precious metals. Indeed, we find that in actuality, more brass and silver were donated to the Sanctuary than gold.

This adds emphasis to the question raised above: Why was gold mentioned first?7 And furthermore, the question arises: What is the lesson to be derived from this for subsequent generations?

These questions can be resolved by considering another question which is raised regarding the construction of the Sanctuary as a whole. Every Jew was commanded to donate towards the Sanctuary’s construction and in actuality, each member of the Jewish people — men, women, and children — made such donations. The questions arises: Since the Sanctuary was intended to establish a dwelling for G‑d in this world,8 seemingly, that dwelling should have been fashioned only through the service of the most elevated and sophisticated among the people.9 Why were the donations to the Sanctuary allowed to be made by every single Jew?10

Nevertheless, precisely this is the message that the Torah wishes to communicate: that every Jew, even a simple man or woman or a young child, has the power to establish a dwelling for G‑d.

To explain: The command to build the Sanctuary was communicated after the giving of the Torah at which time, G‑d chose the Jewish people. In Chassidic thought, it is explained that this choice encompassed the physical person of each and every Jew. Even as a Jew exists within a material body in this physical world, he is a member of “a nation of priests and a holy people.”

This relates to the concept mentioned above, that the giving of the Torah nullified the Divine decree separating the spiritual from the physical. Thus even as the Jewish people exist in the material world, their true nature is spiritual. They are “an actual part of G‑d,” and “Israel and the Holy One, blessed be He, are all one.”

Even when a Jew sins he remains a Jew. He cannot divorce himself from his true source. As the Rambam states, the true desire of every Jew is to serve G‑d. If, at times, this is not reflected in a person’s conduct, we should realize that this is a deviation from his true will, that his natural inclination temporarily forced him to act against his genuine desire.

In this context, we can understand our Sages’ directive, “A person should always occupy himself in Torah study although his intention is self-oriented. For from service that is not for G‑d’s sake comes service which is for G‑d’s sake.” In the Hebrew original of the above expression, the word mitoch translated as “from” also can be rendered “the depth of.” Thus, the expression can be interpreted “the depths, i.e., the core, of service which is not for G‑d’s sake is service that is for G‑d’s sake.” This means that although a person is outwardly studying the Torah or performing a mitzvah for an ulterior motive, the inner motivation for his act is the desire to fulfill G‑d’s will.

From the giving of the Torah on, this has been and is the nature of every Jew. And therefore, after the giving of the Torah, the command was given for a dwelling for G‑d to be constructed within our material world through the donations of every Jew, regardless of his individual attributes.

Based on the above, we can understand why gold was mentioned first when G‑d commanded the Jews to donate toward the Sanctuary. A Jew shares an intrinsic connection to gold. Since a Jew, as he exists within the material world, is “G‑d’s only son,” he is by nature rich. He has the potential to give generously, and to give gold. Indeed, the very Hebrew word for gold, zahav, reflects a Jew’s tendency to give, for our Sages interpret this word as an acronym for the phrase, “He who gives while healthy,” i.e., the person gives not to ward off any unfavorable influences, but as a natural expression of his inner self. And to emphasize this attribute, the first item asked of the Jewish people was gold.11

3. Based on the above, we can appreciate the connection between the month of Adar and Parshas Terumah. Both reflect how even as a Jew exists within the context of this material world, he is connected with his spiritual source. This in turn brings him success and prosperity even within the framework of material existence.

A Jew is in essence rich and his inner spiritual wealth should be reflected in actual material wealth. If this is not openly apparent, this is only because G‑d desires that a Jew reveal this wealth through his efforts, that he transform the darkness of the world into light. This in turn will draw down an abundance of Divine blessing into the world.

The above is particularly true in the present time, when the Jewish people have completed all the spiritual tasks demanded of them and all that is necessary is to actually accept Mashiach. At this time, each and every member of the present generation, the last generation of exile and the first generation of Redemption, is surely worthy of abundant material wealth.

This leads to a practical directive: Each Jew should seek to obtain wealth, spiritual wealth as our Sages stated, “There is no concept of wealth other than knowledge,” and also actual material wealth. The latter will, as the Rambam explains, enable one to devote oneself to the study of Torah and the observance of mitzvos in a more complete manner. Similarly, one will be able to donate more generously to tzedakah, including the tzedakah given for the construction of synagogues and houses of study.

And this will lead to the construction of the Third Beis HaMikdash, a mitzvah which is incumbent on every single Jew. And it will be fulfilled by the entire Jewish people, for every Jew — man, woman, and child12 — will donate towards the construction of that Beis HaMikdash.

Similarly, at this time, in connection with the twofold influence of the months of Adar, there must be an emphasis on the service of happiness. Our happiness should continue to grow and increase throughout these two months. Indeed, efforts should be made to increase and heighten this celebration. These efforts should begin with an increase in Torah study, as it is written, “The precepts of G‑d bring joy to the heart,” and this study should lead to deed, an increase in the performance of mitzvos behiddur, in a careful and beautiful manner.

From “serving G‑d with joy,” we should proceed to spreading joy and happiness in the most literal sense, making efforts that the members of one’s household and similarly, all of those with whom one comes in contact, experience greater joy. And this will lead to the ultimate joy, the coming of the Redemption. May it take place in the immediate future.