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K’Ish Echad b’Lev Echad



Dear Rachel,

My friend encouraged me to write to you about her predicament.

She shares with me that in three instances this past spring, families have pushed her to disclose why she submitted a “will not attend” RSVP for their out-of-country smachot.

Airfare does not fit into her budget. She presents a gift but is still snubbed as a disloyal friend.

I humorously suggested to her that if the invitation envelope does not have a ticket in it, then the hosts should not pry into her reasons or finances. This elicited a laugh, but she is still dismayed that her otherwise good friends have now rejected her.

I hope you will print this letter and come up with ways to encourage ahavas Yisrael, or at least to minimize sinas chinam .

A Loyal Friend


Dear Loyal Friend,

As a rule, when a family celebrates a simchah in another country, they usually know right off that their attendee list will be shortened by a mile (no pun intended). Basically, close relatives, a handful of friends who can fit that particular time slot into their itinerary and the entailed travel costs into their budget, and perhaps some business / work acquaintances can be counted on to be there in person.

Every clear-thinking, level-headed host of an out-of-country celebration understands and graciously accepts the absence of a guest who cannot make it for one reason or other.

There is very little in the way of detail in your brief letter — like no mention of your friend’s status. If she is a young single, she might perhaps be feeling left out of things; her friends who did attend the event now share fond memories that your friend was not a part of. This may make her feel as though she is “rejected.”

Are the baalei simchah close friends of hers? If so, they might be somewhat familiar with her circumstances. In which case, they would certainly understand where she is coming from.

All this aside, your friend should be mollified by knowing she did the sensible thing. And as the Yiddish saying goes, “men ken nisht tantzen oif alleh chasunas” – one cannot dance at all weddingsNor is one meant to. This is hinted in the blessing we make every morning, “Hameichin mitzadei gaver – He Who sets the steps of man.”

There are an untold number of stories of people setting out to go to a simchah, or who have had all preparations in place to attend an event, when something occurs to intervene with their best laid plans. According to the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov, Hashem prepares the paths each of us will travel each day. Hashgacha pratis (Divine providence) at work.

It’s hurtful to imagine that your friend’s perception might be real and that she is actually being “snubbed.” If that is the case, they will hopefully soon wake up and come to their senses. No better time than now, when we are about to celebrate the unity of Am Yisrael.

We were as one person, with one heart, as we stood at Har Sinai. Note: Hashem chose the lowest mountain; humility over grandeur! As the Kozhnitzer Maggid put forth, if all Jews would unite and each extend his hand to the other, all hands would become as one — which would then extend all the way to the Kisei Hakavod (Hashem’s Throne).

Thank you for writing and for your loyalty to a friend in need of a hug.


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