דער דאזיגער געדאנק האט דער ראביי פונעם קאנסארוואטיוון סינאגאג גישריבן פאריגע וואך.
טראץ וואס דער ״אידישע וועלט״ איז פאר אידיש, האב איך נישט דעם געדולד איבערשרייבן די קומענדיגע און צייטליכער ארטיקל געגאסן ממש פאר די יעצטיגע מינוט.
A Little Bit of Joy
October 24, 2018
Rabbi Jeffrey Myers
Most of us manage to find the time to attend a funeral, but do not possess the same fervor when it comes to a joyous event. I recall a conversation I had with a congregant a few days prior to the brit milah of my son. When I asked her if she would be attending, she answered that as a teacher it wasn’t easy to take time off. I asked her if she took time off to attend funerals. “Of course” she answered. I then asked her why she made attending a funeral a priority over a joyous event such as a brit milah. This gave her pause to reflect, and in the end, she attended and thanked me for spurring her on to change her thinking.
We have a finite, limited amount of s’machot (the plural of simcha – a joyous event) in our lives, and I include in this category birth, baby naming, brit milah, birthday, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, graduation, wedding, wedding anniversary, and other joyous moments. By not participating as fully as possible in s’machot, we deprive ourselves of joy and the opportunity to celebrate with others. As the supply gradually lessens, we cannot go to the simcha bank for a loan or refill. Like the needle on the car dashboard that shows you how much gas remains in the tank, so too is our simcha tank gradually emptying. Comforting a mourner is a mitzvah, and so is bringing joy to a newly-married couple at their wedding.
There is a story told in the Talmud of a wedding procession and a funeral procession heading along parallel roads, with the roads intersecting. The question asked is: when they meet at the fork, which procession goes first, funeral or wedding? The correct answer is wedding, as the joy of the couple takes precedence. In fact, the funeral procession is to move out of sight so that their joy is not lessened. Every birthday celebration unobserved is one less opportunity in your tank. You can respond with, “Oh well, there is always next year”. None of us can say with certainty that there is always next year.
This is our hope, our dream. Would it not be far better to celebrate a simcha because you made the time, and be able to state at the end, “I’m glad I came. I look forward to celebrating with you next year.” We value joy so much in Judaism that upon taking our leave from a funeral or a shiva house, the customary statement one makes (in Yiddish) is “nor oyf simches” – only for s’machot. While death is inevitable and a part of life, we still take our leave with the best possible blessing, to meet at joyous events. And so I say to you: nor oyf simches!