Thursday, March 20, 2008

Joy at Celebrations

The other day I was at a friend’s family celebration. One of her guests kept mentioning to the hostess different negative news facts. There is no lack of bad news. And we are certainly sorry about terrorist attacks and tragedies. However, I feel that to keep mentioning a recent tragedy did nothing to enhance my friend’s enjoyment of her celebration.
Let me give a few other examples.
1) The widow who told me after marrying off a child that she was exhausted after the wedding. At the wedding EVERYONE felt the need to “console” her. She was exhausted trying to find the balance between “happy” and “sad”, not wanting to risk being “inappropriate”.
2) Hard is the lot of a young adult who lets their sibling wed before they are engaged. Not only do they have to deal with their own possibly mixed emotions, but they know with a surety that on the wedding night 99% of the guests will approach them , including those who do not know them personally, to tell them “soon by you”.

When I celebrated my wedding (years and years ago), two tragedies could have been mentioned to me on that day. There had been a terrorist bomb explosion in the market of Jerusalem, and the child of a good friend had died. These friends had returned to Israel to finish the week of mourning.
I am grateful that no one felt the need to cause me sadness on my wedding night by informing of me of these facts immediately. I was given the names of the injured (from the bombing) to pray for, as is often done. But I was given the names without the extra information that these “sick” people were from a bomb incident. Then the next morning I was informed about my friend’s loss, with the added information that their week of mourning was almost over, so I should hurry if I wanted to visit them.
In short, as we are told in Koheles (Ecclesiastes):
A time to weep and a time to laugh
A time to wail and a time to dance
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.

Happy Purim everyone!
(This will probaly be my last blog this week, due to the Purim holiday.)

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