Terumah: Retroactive Growth

This week I had my yearly pilgrimage to the holy city of Jerusalem, where I began the "Pesach Season" with baking our matzos for Seder night.  Since my wife had a business meeting there a day-and-a-half later, we decided to make it a small getaway before Purim/Pesach/Shavous/Summer season hits.  Naturally, we went to the Kosel, since it's been a while and while we were in the Old City, we decided to do some "People Watching."  And there is probably no better time to do that, than in the spring, when the weather is getting nicer (assuming of course there was a good winter, which there hasn't been).  Of course, there were tons of religious Christians making their pilgrimage through the Holy Land, and oodles of English speakers from all over.  My favorite was an older black couple, both draped in blue-stripped tallisim.  It was very tempting to ask them why they were wearing them, but common sense (for once) held me back.

At one point we found ourselves in the middle of a group of Christians from Arkansas (it was great to hear that accent again), and our Hebrew is just good enough to switch and talk to each other without their understanding.  A useful tool which we rarely use.  And no, we weren't saying anything bad.

As we were watching all sorts of people from all sorts of backgrounds and countries, I could hear the words of Dr. Seuss, "Oh the thinks you can think," running through my head.

Anybody who was once a Senior in high school is familiar with the term "Senioritis," which is a medical condition that most, if not all, seniors experience.  It's accompanied by such symptoms as "lets get this over with already" and "okay, most of my grades are in, who cares?" and "When can I start the next phase in life?"

All this is natural.  It's been a long three-and-a-half years, and they're ready to move on.  They need new challenges, new experiences … the old is boring.  They want to quickly get through the end and move on to new beginnings.

The cause of this is simple, as we stated.  There is a desire for newness.  And this is all fine and acceptable.  All healthy human beings crave newness.  I personally love having order in my life, but even within that order, if I were learning the same thing over and over again, or doing the same work over and over again, I would go crazy (or crazier).

Yet, the Torah takes a slightly different view on what to do about "the end."  People are happy to leave the boring "old" and move on to the exciting "new," but we have this month called Adar, which is at the end of our year, and teaches us something important.

The Gemara famously states, "when Adar enters, we increase simcha," and the cause of this simcha is Purim.  On Purim, due to the amount of sin we committed, the Jewish nation was sentenced to annihilation.  Only through teshuvah did Hashem step in and reverse the situation.  We saw the "revival of the dead" with our own eyes.  And this month carries that power throughout the ages.

While the high school senior wants to skip the last half of their last year, we look at Adar as an opportunity, to renew the year at the last moment, to give life to a year that might not have been so lively (spiritually speaking).  By putting extra energy into our learning and into the mitzvos we do in this month, we receive extra help from Above, to rejuvenate a year of stagnation.  We don't want to skip the end, since the end has power to raise us to new heights.  And when we start the new year, in another month, we will start on a much higher stage than we were at 31 days earlier.

Purim, and the entire month of Adar, is a month of "newness," which gives us the power to revive the spiritual dead within ourselves.  By using it properly, with simcha, we can attain growth that is very difficult to achieve any other time of the year.

With that, I wish you all a wonderful Shabbos and a wonderful month of Adar!