As many of you may know, in the past month three local Jewish men have passed away, two of which were intimately involved in Chabad and the Jewish Community. This certainly was a confusing way to enter the month of Adar! But Judaism is a religion which relishes paradoxes, as, it seems, "Life" itself does.
The holiday of Purim illustrates this theme perfectly. The Talmud wonders why we don't recite "Hallel" (a collection of Psalms recited on most holidays) on Purim. Amongst the answers given, is the fact that the Purim story, despite its miracles and salvations, occurred during a time of exile for the Jewish People. Hence it would be inappropriate to say the Hallel prayer in light of this tragic, historic reality. Yet Purim is the most joyous and lively of all of the holidays, celebrated with costumes, gift giving, and drinking! Its merriment even outdoing the celebrations of Simchas Torah, Chanukah, and Passover! How can a day, with an "exile complex", be observed in such a fashion?
The answer lies within the Purim story itself. As is often noted, the Megillah doesn't mention G-d even once. The entire miracle of Purim occurs behind the scenes, as it were, with G-d taking a silent part. Purim teaches us to search for the divine within the normal, the holy behind the mundane.
But I believe we can take this a step further. We must also embrace the paradox. That the most cheerful, exuberant day of the year occurred originally in a time of exile. That there is often good and bad occurring in intervals that are uncomfortably close. That there can be Life intermingled with Death. Purim teaches us that it's okay for there to be contradictions. It's okay to feel bitter loss and loneliness while simultaneously feeling gratitude and contentment. It's okay to attend a funeral in the morning and a wedding later that same night.
This is what being Human is all about; and it is certainly what being a Jew is all about. And when we know that behind the scenes Hashem is guiding us and leading the way, what else can we do but celebrate?