Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dating Coach,

I just got engaged and I am so excited and happy. We are planning an engagement party for next week and my parents and future in-laws have decided to keep it pretty simple because of the war in Israel. I agree with this approach and feel better knowing that we are constantly keeping our family members and “extended” family members from Eretz Yisrael in mind. I’m just not sure though how to present this happy news going forward. Is it wrong to be very joyful? Can I send pictures of the party to those who will not be able to attend? Can I share my news? Or should my whole engagement take a quieter approach in general?


Set the Tone


Dear Tone,

Don’t laugh when others fall. Don’t start dancing when people are crying. Don’t shout in a quiet space. In those moments, we are taught to take measure; to read the room. But, please remember to notice the joy as well. When others around you are blessed, take part, and rejoice with them.


A Blessing on Your Head

I have been overwhelmed by the graciousness of our people. When I think my heart will break from the unbearable stories of pain and loss in Israel, I hear or read about the beautiful response from Klal Yisrael and I spackle and repair the sadness deep in my soul with the goodness and kindness flowing from Jews everywhere. There are Jews fighting, risking their lives, raising money, cooking and feeding, gifting, care taking, housing, counseling, and offering services in every single way that they can. I am moved beyond words and so proud to be a part of a people who give and give and give. I say Mi Ki’amcha Yisrael and I cry with pain and joy intertwined.


Now What

You also are giving. Your beautiful and gracious family has decided to take note of what feels appropriate and what feels overblown or in poor taste when so many people are suffering. They have scaled back a party you are thrilled to make because “too much” feels unnecessary and insensitive to them. You wonder if this should set the tone for your entire engagement. Should you keep things low key? Should you downplay your simcha?


Mazel Tov

When we suffer, we can often forget what joy and happiness feel like. When we are hurting, we may not believe that we will ever feel like celebrating again. Yet, it is specifically during sorrow that we feel happiness so acutely. It is then that we truly understand how precious joy can be. How fleeting it can be. We can see blessings so clearly and know that they are gifts that must be cherished. We can honor mazel and bracha most when we are in pain. We have seen horror, and we so appreciate the joy. We have seen pain and are so grateful for the happiness.

Celebrate your engagement. Not with an over-the-top party, but with genuine joy and gratitude. Share your moment with family and friends. Be happy and show it. They will rejoice alongside you. Think of this as your contribution. You will get married, have children, and bring bracha to the Jewish people. In the face of destruction and death, you are creating blessings and life. Don’t temper your happiness. Embrace the gift that you have been given and imbue those around you as well.


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Henni Halberstam is a Dating and Marriage Coach whose expert advice will help you navigate dating and relationships in order to ensure a successful marriage. You can contact her at [email protected] to schedule a phone session.