A Family Simcha

We recently attended a Bas Mitzvah of a very close family relative. The family is traditional, does not work on Yom Tov attends shul on Shabbos and belongs to an Orthodox shul, despite the fact that they are not what we would call Shomer Torah U Mitzvos. The Bas Mitzvah attends a prominent coed yeshiva in Manhattan.We spend Thanksgiving, Chanukah and one meal together during Chol HaMoed Sukkos and celebrate family simchos together.

We spent Shabbos in the immediate vicinity of an Orthodox shul where we attended and enjoyed wonderful davening and fantastic meals that were catered by a very prominent Glatt caterer for both Shabbos dinner and lunch for all attendees. This shul’s mispallelim range from MO of all kinds to Chasidishe to Yeshivish to interns and residents who are working at a nearby prominent hospital . One of the highlights was hearing a Chasidishe Chazan daven Kedusha to Yerushalayim Shel Zahav!

As per a psak from a gadol and rebbe of mine, we did not attend a women’s prayer group where the Bas Mitzvah read from the Torah in another MO shul. The Baalei Simcha were very understanding of our point of view.

The Sunday night reception was held at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. The Bas Mitzvah’s grandparents are survivors and that added a special poignancy to the evening. (We once attended a dinner there and I could not help but note that my kavanah was enhanced just by thinking of the Statue of Liberty in the background and the millions who were denied entry to the US during the dark days of the 1930s and 1940s).

The dancing was half separate “simcha dancing” and half mixed dancing. I was very proud to have worked up quite a sweat during the simcha dancing with the father and Baal simcha -who I never expected many years ago would be a member of an O shul, send his daughter to a day school, summer camp and take off for Yom Tov. At the end of the night, the Baal Simcha asked me to go to another table where a mzuman for Birkas HaMazon would be occurring. As I watched the Baal Simcha read the bentching, I was very proud. While he was by no means a shomer Torah U mitzvos, he had come a long way in his respect for Torah and mitzvos.

3 comments on “A Family Simcha

  1. It’s nice to hear that within families BTs can share simchas with relatives.
    Tolerance is a funny thing. “O Bashing” among not-yet-observant about tolerance is a problem everywhere. In any shul where you have an “orthodox-by-association” membership base I’ve found people accusing me of being intolerant. Funny, I just spent 4 Yom Tov meals and not once did any discussion of one’s level of Yiddishkeit come up at the table.

  2. It was a great simcha . On Shabbos in particular, there was a great feelimg of Ahavas Yisrael and a complete absence of any O bashing. I can measure my enjoyment of any such occasion by the level of participation in the simcha and the absence of any anti O comments.

    OTOH, when otherwise well meaning adults start lecturing you about “tolerance” or use other anti O verbal codes, there are two options. You can either smile , duck and pray that the rest of the simcha moves quickly without incident. I have learned only to get into a debate with such persons only when it is apparent from the comments being offered that they are the worst kind of O bashing directed at you and your family with code words such as “tolerance”, “insularity”. etc. Once you point out that those who lecture the most on tolerane, etc generally have a level of tolerance within their immediate circle, that’s my signal that I am not interested in discussing why and how we live our lives when the discussant is engaged in bashing.

    The bottom line is that many people who voice such comments have a fundamentally different view of life and simply don’t understand that we view child rearing and marriage as life long objectives, as opposed to an adventure and exploration for an otherwise wet behind the ears adolescent. We emphasize that the goal of parenting is to pass on a Mesorah of Torah, Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim-three ikarim that are foreign to a world that views anything in life as the basis of an individual’s choice, as opposed to a multi generational heritage. Someone who has no comprehension or willingness to comprehend such a concept will unfortunately view Torah , Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim with curiousity at best and hostility at worst.

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