Adar is supposed to be a month of joy, but the joy is not inherent in the month itself. It is incumbent upon us to actualize that potential. I tried hard to make joy my reality at the start of this month with a happy mindset, yet I found it impossible. I was very concerned about the protest that was taking place in Jerusalem on Rosh Chodesh Adar. Crestfallen at the thought of starting Adar with our nation in a disjointed state (Mifuzar U’Miforad, as was the case of the Jews in Shushan at the time of Purim), I couldn’t shake the sadness. I foolishly did not heed the advice of those telling me to avoid the news and social media. Every blog, news picture and post I saw was like a knife to the heart.

The thought that immediately crossed my mind was the chillul Hashem that took place. I am especially perplexed by many of the protesters for their selective concern regarding this issue. While many of them go to great lengths to obscure all such episodes of abuse, crime and any other serious malady among their own, so as not to bring it to the public eye of scrutiny, here it seems not to be an issue. They gather en masse in front of the entire world and hurl the harshest accusations at other Jews. My initial conclusion as to why they would behave this way was that they don’t view any Jew who does not share their hashkafa as a part of Klal Yisrael. Not only are they excluding the rest of Am Yisrael from their equation, but have gone so far to define the remaining Jews as the enemy, out to destroy the true keepers of the faith. This is an exclusion they seemed to be making loud and clear.

My anger and frustration was intense. I felt  rejected and demeaned and it truly made no sense to me. When my head cleared a bit and I started to think more rationally I understood that this was not about me. This is about the world of others that came crashing down on them and out of fear and desperation they are lashing out. We must try and sympathize with a mentality that does not operate as does ours. The world they come from is extremely insular and regimented. To them even the smallest change is made with extreme caution. They are now being forced to leave their safety net and to jump into new, uncharted territory. They understand this law will be passed and the lifestyle they have always known will change forever. Let us act as Jews should with compassion for our brothers even if they lash out at us. Let them cry out in their pain. It is understandable. We must truly love and feel for our brothers not because they are right, but because they are human and we owe it to them and ourselves to be decent, feeling, caring, people.

The remedy to the divisiveness that has plagued us through the ages was prescribed to us at the time of Purim. Mishloach Manot Ish Lereihu was intended to bring our scattered nation back together. The intent of this commandment is to give to fellow Jews who are outside of our comfort zone. This small step displays our willingness and desire to come together; a way to start the healing of our nation through the joy of giving. It is up to us to actualize this potential.

The potential for joy and happiness for our entire nation is in our hands. Let’s not blow it.