Why I Was Crying this Rosh Chodesh Adar

Why I Was Crying this Rosh Chodesh Adar

Rosh Chodesh Adar is supposed to be one of the happiest days of the year– the kick-off of the most joyful month in the Jewish calendar. So why was I crying all day?

First, after gan I took the kids to the playground, and on the way home I ran into a woman I met a few weeks ago at an event for mothers. She was there with all her kids, a 7-year old daughter and newborn twins–bundled up in hand-knitted pink and blue blankets from savta.

I did some math, and understood how long and probably how desperately this mother had been waiting for a sibling for her firstborn daughter.

“What are your twins’ names?” I asked her.

“Tikva and Simcha.”

Hope and happiness. She had hoped and hoped, and then joy arrived.

I was so choked up I couldn’t speak.

Crying crying.

On the way home from the playground, I saw a friend who just had a baby driving by in her minivan. She slowed down and rolled down her window.

I missed her baby’s bris, so I asked her, “What did you name your baby?”

“Eitam,” she told me.

I thought of young Rabbi Eitam Henkin HY”D who was murdered this past Hoshana Raba in a terror attack along with his wife, Naama. I thought of the four young orphans and four grieving parents they left behind. I thought of the comfort it would bring them to hear of this baby named after Eitam, and imagined how one day this baby Eitam might also grow up to be a great Torah scholar and light to Am Yisrael like his namesake.

Crying crying.

Later last night, on my way home from a class, I heard the sound of loud music and boys singing along in celebration. It was the boys of Yashlatz–the high school division of Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav who have a party with music and dancing every Rosh Chodesh.

And I was transported back 8 years to the terrible terror attack which took place at Merkaz HaRav on Rosh Chodesh Adar exactly 8 years ago last night.

I thought of those 5 boys and 3 men who were brutally murdered. Not one of those boys dancing had forgotten the tragedy of 8 years ago that night. But still, they sang and danced and felt true joy. Because they are Jews and Jews feel happiness in the month of Adar–no matter how many terrorists try to steal that happiness from our hearts.

Crying crying.

When I was in college, a professor once mentioned in class that her favorite emotion is laughing through tears. I wondered what she was talking about.

But now I recognize this sweet and sour emotion so very well. Simcha mixed with tragedy. Sadness mixed with joy.

The most Jewish joy.


  1. I have a friend that describes this as a “crying smile”.

  2. a minor correction, i’m pretty sure that the yashlatz massacre was rosh chodesh adar bet because we were shopping for our sons shalom zachar when it happened, unless i lost some memory cells in the birth which is possible too.

  3. Lauren adilev

    The yashlstz attack was on rc adar bet.

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