The Jewish Wedding: Simcha and Sadness

The Jewish Wedding is a beautiful and spiritual event that marks the birth of a new family and the start of new beginnings. Like many Jewish events our extreme joy is made humble with the remembrance of the difficulties that have struck our people, and specifically at the wedding, we remember the destruction of the beis hamikdash. It’s an amazing contrast and people often wonder why such a sad event is remembered at such a happy occasion.

As seen through the many customs, Judaism always infuses in us a sense of reality. At our special events and simchas this is no different. We are reminded that the good always comes with the bad, not to lessen or take away from the happiness but in fact to give oneself clarity that the good is only good because we know what bad tastes and feels like. Similarly, one of the many answers to the question “why do bad things happen to good people”, is that without the bad we would be completely desensitised to the good. How would we know what good is if we had nothing to compare it to?

And so, the wedding can be the most beautiful joyous occasion, and you can still cry. You can experience complete happiness and at the same time feel a part of you missing. That’s the beauty of the gamut of human emotions – that we can feel so strongly about someone or something and at the same time feel them ripped away from you or not returning your love. What is amazing is that we can embrace these feelings and direct them in the way we want. We can use them to lift us up and be hopeful. At the same time, there are those who choose to take their emotions and become the victim. Yes, it’s a choice. We don’t choose how we feel but we do choose where to direct it and what to do with it.

Wealthy is the man who can read their emotions and lift himself up, and those around them – Who can choose to see the beauty and the majesty despite their feelings. Poor is the man who lets his emotions lead him to the depths of misery, convincing himself that they are real and justified, and unable to see the beauty that exists. One can look at a chuppa and focus on the destruction of the Temple and another can look at that same chuppa and see the most meaningful start to a whole new journey, with the reality of the hard times, which only propel the growth in the good times.

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