web analytics
October 20, 2014 / 26 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Whose SImcha Is It Really?

Bouquet-110411

Everyone loves a wedding. Really what is there not to love? You gather together with family and friends, all dressed up in your nicest clothing and jewelry, are treated to a sumptuous meal, and then get to enjoy wonderful music and even some dancing. And dancing at a wedding is unique in its own right – women of all backgrounds, at every stage of life, twirling and clapping all for one person – the kallah. What could be nicer?

At some weddings you even get to see elderly grandparents sharing in the simcha. Sometimes they are there with canes, sometimes in wheelchairs, sometimes accompanied by an aide or another relative. They too are dressed up and smiling, they too want to participate and rejoice with the chassan and kallah. But how does one rejoice, express their personal simcha, when they are infirm and can no longer dance, clap or twirl around?

The focus of a wedding and its source of simcha changes as one ages. When you are young, you think that the one with the most simcha, the one experiencing the most joy must be the kallah. She’s the one in the white dress, nervously anticipating the exciting moment the band will boom out “Od Yeshama” and she will see her chassan come proudly striding towards her. Everyone cranes their necks to see the expression on his face.  But as we mature and our perspective widens to identify with the parents of the young couple, our thought process changes.  Here they are, marrying off a child, a child who just a blink of an eye ago was a toddler, a youngster.  “Why, just a short while ago she was still a baby,” they marvel, along with all their friends.

Then time passes and we have traveled a little bit further down the road of life and watched ever younger kallahs get married (and don’t they seem younger and younger to you all the time now?) and you look again. Now you notice the older generation; the grandparents, and sometimes even great-grandparents, the survivors of the past, the ones who put so much effort into getting everyone to this day.  Often they cannot stand on their own and it can seem as if they have been relegated to the sidelines.  Yes, they are there for pictures, snapped for eternity for that all-important album, to show that they were there at this simcha. But sometimes they do feel somewhat pushed aside.

It should not be that way.  Our elders are our crowns – ateres rosheinu.  It is a tremendous zechus – even if the younger generation doesn’t always appreciate it – to have them alive and able to participate in our simchas.  They are the symbols of what was, what is, and what can continue to be. They are really the apex of the multi-generational event that culminates at every wedding.

Just recently I was baruch Hashem able to return home for my youngest sister’s wedding.  And it was everything it should be – the beautiful kallah, the makeup, dresses, gowns, sisters, cousins, children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews; the rush to prepare, the incessant shopping around to find “just the right outfit,” organizing everything so that all the overseas children could come, the hall, the food, the caterer…all of it. There was the pre-wedding Shabbos together with even more cousins and family members; the time spent together, the cleanup.

Then the day of the wedding dawned. We all got up early, nervous and excited. Each one of us got dressed in all the finery we had been preparing for so many weeks.

And my grandparents, now in their nineties, bli ayin hara, got ready too.

Bubby looked great. She walked with difficulty – but she walked, mostly on her own, sometimes with one of us. She looked magnificent. Zeidy could no longer make it to a wedding completely on his own, and needed a wheelchair. But even in his wheelchair, he looked so good. With his cane in his hands for when he would get out of the wheelchair, we set off.  As the elders of the family they had been anticipating this wedding for a long time, but for Zeidy there was an added dimension to this special simcha.

This sister had been born when my parents were running a business and both needed to be there full-time.  They would never have left her with just a sitter, but someone needed to watch her.  Zeidy, who was retired, needed a job, something he could do well and would make him feel needed…a perfect shidduch. Zeidy became my sister’s prime babysitter. And oh, how those two loved each other.  He looked forward to each day – talking to her, holding her, proudly pushing her around in her stroller, playing with her and even occasionally changing her diaper.  Zeidy loves each of his grandchildren, but for this particular grandchild, he has a special place in his heart.

This special relationship continued throughout the years. My sister often went over to visit – they lived just a short two blocks from our home.  She would stop by to just say hello, eat some of my Bubby’s famous chocolate chip banana cake, (her favorite!), and play some cards with Zeidy. He always lit up when he’d see her. And as she went through the turbulent teenage years, she would still remember to call and visit, in between being with her friends, going on outings and stays in summer camp. Bubby and Zeidy’s house was one of her favorite places to be.

As Zeidy aged, many family members tried to find ways to help him. It wasn’t easy and became even more so as he began to lose most of his eyesight.  It was my sister who came up with a great idea. Every Friday, she would go over to their home to learn with Zeidy. He loved those learning sessions. This went on for years, and he looked forward to it all week long. When she graduated high school and went out of town, it was very hard for him. But even then she made sure to keep it up – every week, she’d call him long distance, and when she was in the city, she would come over in person to learn something with him. Zeidy loved it.

As the kabbalas panim got underway, my sister was busy with all the guests coming over to greet her. The photographer placed us, her older sisters, in a row behind the dais, and seated the two mothers, as well as my grandmother and her sister on the dais next to her. My uncles wheeled Zeidy into the room to be near the dais so he could somehow be part of the badeken.

Then the music started, and my father, the chassan and his father, along with all his exuberant friends, came marching into the room. The electricity was palpable. Of course the women had tears in their eyes. My Bubby sat up straight in her chair, proud to be with us. Zeidy was still there, waiting expectantly, but quietly near the front of the dais.

As the chassan badeked her and my father bentched her, it seemed as if everything was happening so fast.  Taking off her jewelry, handing her the appropriate tefillos to say, and of course, the ubiquitous photographer needing “just another shot, & smile,” made it all very hectic. But then suddenly, to the utter astonishment of everyone present, the kallah jumped out of her chair and sprinted towards the edge of the dais, gown, veil, flowers and all. It happened so fast the photographer actually missed it!

She ran the few paces to where Zeidy was sitting in his wheelchair, bent down all the way so he could hear her and screamed, “Zeidy! I want you to bentch me!” She had shouted twice until her heard her.  Those of us standing around stopped in our tracks.  The band may have still been blaring away, but for us, that moment froze in time. Crying, Zeidy lifted his shaky hands, unsure of where to put them with all her hairdo, veil and headpiece in the way. Undeterred, my sister put his hands directly on her head, headpiece and expensive hairdo notwithstanding, and bent down more so he could bentch her.

None of us could hear what he actually said, but it doesn’t matter. Hearts talk too and that is the best language.

Sometimes, despite the best intentions, the elderly are inadvertently left out of the most important parts of a large simcha. Often unavoidable, but this scene with my sister says volumes. Even when our elderly are “too old to participate,” their mere presence at such a life event is a simcha all in itself! And by giving Zeidy that honor she showed him more than with words, hugs or anything else, that he was never too old to matter in her life, no matter how he looks, no matter what he can or cannot do.

This is the ultimate hakaras hatov. This is the greatest kavod we can give to those who matter to us.

Ironically, it was only after this touching scene was over, that the photographer heard something special had happened — and he had missed it! He came running back in and asked my sister to “do it again” so he could get his picture of it…which she gladly did…and even the second time around, Zeidy cried.

But don’t worry. My eleven-year-old daughter caught the first time, the real thing, on her digital camera to share with everyone again and again, after the wedding was over…

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Whose SImcha Is It Really?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Will MK Hanin Zoabi risk her head and agree to fly to Syria to prove her point?
Arab MK Zoabi Says IDF ‘Worse than’ ISIS
Latest Indepth Stories
Map of Syria-Turkish border area, pinpointing Kurdish border town of Kobani, just taken by ISIS terror forces Oct 7, 2014.

Turkey and Iran the 2 regional powers surrounding the ISIS conflict gain from a partial ISIS victory

The Rosenstrasse area of Berlin, where Jewish husbands of non-Jewish German wives were held.

Emigration from Israel is at an all-time low, far lower than immigration to Israel from Europe.

NY rally against Met Opera's 'Death of Klinghoffer' opera. Sept. 22, 2014.

Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters: “‘Klinghoffer’ is justified as ‘a work of art’…This is an outrage.”

Guess who's behind the door?

Do you seriously think that as you kidnap our children we should medically treat and help yours?

Sometimes collective action against the heinous acts of the majority is not enough. The world should not only support the blockade of Gaza; it must enforce the dismantling of Hamas.

The Arab Spring has challenged Jordan with the task of gradual reform with regard to its monarchy.

Israel offered Syria the entire Golan Heights, only to find that the Syrians were demanding MORE!

Israeli hasbara too can be described at best as pathetic, at worst non existent.

A ‘good news’ story from the Nepal avalanche disaster to warm your heart. Take out your Kleenex.

Journalists see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as morality play: Israel=evil; Palestine=innocent

Warsaw Ghetto: At its height, the Nazis walled in some 500,000 Jews within the1.3 square mile area.

While police officers face dangers every day on the job, Jews also face danger in their daily lives.

Carter developed a fondness for Arafat believing “they were both ordained to be peacemakers by God”

If Hamas is ISIS, the world asks, why didn’t Israel destroy it given justification and opportunity?

That key is the disarming of Hamas and the demilitarization of Gaza – as the U.S., EU, and others agreed to in principle at the end of Operation Protective Edge.

We have no doubt there are those who deeply desire to present themselves as being of a gender that is not consistent with their anatomy, and we take no joy in the pain and embarrassment they suffer.

More Articles from Tamar Ansh

With our focus now turned to the upcoming Pesach holiday, I wanted to share with you some lighter and healthier meal ideas. We have some baked, not fried eggplant, low-carb “rice” created in a unique way, a nice salad and a refreshingly light dessert. I hope this will enhance your Pesach and bring you many nice compliments.

Ansh-092112-Salads

One year we went out for a meal and instead of bringing along the usual chocolates or wine, I offered the hostess an array of colorful salads. After seeing how muchthey were enjoyed, I thought it would be nice to recreate them. All these salads can be made a day in advance and refrigerated until serving time, making them ideal for a hectic, busy Yom Tov time of year. Besides, it’s always nice to have something different and delicious to serve when extra guests and family come over…

The focus of a wedding and its source of simcha changes as one ages.

Lots of people think that if you can’t use rice like the Sephardim do on Pesach, nor matza meal like many Ashkenazim do on Pesach, then there’s “nothing left to eat!” This article is being written to dispel all these gloomy forecasts. Baruch Hashem, there is so much you can do if you just turn your creative juices up. Clip this out and save it – it’s also great for those who need to eat gluten-free. Let’s focus now on some delicious dishes that present really beautifully, and then on some easy and refreshing desserts.

Even those people who do not normally make challah all year long usually do find that they want homemade challahs for Rosh Hashana. Round challahs are most traditionally used for this time of year, as a reminder of the cycle of life.

Even those people who do not normally make challah all year long usually do find that they want homemade challahs for Rosh Hashana. Round challahs are most traditionally used for this time of year, as a reminder of the cycle of life.

Rosh Hashanah and the ensuing Sukkos holiday season are nearly upon us, and if you are a busy person but still like to serve nice meals, then you are surely thinking about how and what to cook. Below, you will find some great recipes that can be prepared in advance and then frozen. This way you can concentrate on yom tov itself and enjoy time with your family.

Rosh Hashanah and the ensuing Sukkos holiday season are nearly upon us, and if you are a busy person but still like to serve nice meals, then you are surely thinking about how and what to cook. Below, you will find some great recipes that can be prepared in advance and then frozen. This way you can concentrate on yom tov itself and enjoy time with your family.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/whose-simcha-is-it-really/2012/08/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: