Sunday, August 28, 2005

Whoops....

I guess I am getting into the habit of blogging bi-monthly. Or tri-monthly, considering that the last post was from May 31 and was more of a meaningless rant that anything substancial.
Anyways, first and foremost I'd like to wish a mazal tov to my cousin who has just gotten engaged. He is like a mix of my best friend and brother so I am exceptionally happy for him.
I honestly don't think that I have ever been this happy. I mean, sure I've been happy in my lifetime but this is the first time I ever felt truly and completely happy, not because of personal benifit or accomplishment, but because I am entirely happy for someone else and I gain nothing by being happy, except the knowledge that my being happy increases his happiness. It is a totally different feeling of happiness.
This is what I thin the word "simcha" really means. You can't say that you are "b'simcha" when you get a 100% on a test, or when you get something new. Being happy for someone else is the only time the word "simcha" can be used.
"Simcha" is of course only used on joyous occasions such as weddings, bar/bat mitzvas and births. Now all you readers are probably thing "Well, duuuh.", but now for the first time I fully understand the meaning of "simcha". I was too young to comprehend simcha when my little brother was born over 13 years go, and even when my youngest cousin was born, I was only 8 and had yet to develop such a closeness to this family of cousins. But now that I have an understanding of what it really means to be b'simcha, I am all the more happier. Of course I am happy when someone I know distantly gets engaged or has a baby, but without the emotional attachment and feeling of love, its much harder to be happy for a person you aren't close with.
I think that it is easier to share in each others pain than it is to share in each others happiness. This isn't a bad thing, Im just thinking about it as I type. Recently, we had a tragedy in our community when a 18 year old boy died from a brain tumor. The whole community was impacted and every single person not only felt the tragedy, but did everything they could to help the family, to provide support for this boys friends, and to help the community grow closer together because they were all affected by this unfortunate event.
It really is amazing when you look at the feelings that Jews have for their fellow Jews. I was as impacted as the next person, even though I didn't know the boy personally, I knew him and recognized him from shul. Even people who had never heard of this family before were impacted.
But I don't understand why people don't come together as much for a simcha as they do for a tzara. They are both powerful feelings, opposite sides of the emotional spectrum. But somehow, the sadness always overpowers the happiness. If a sad event causes someone to become a better person, that is a good thing, but if someone becomes a better person because of a happy event, it would be greater. I just think that everyone takes the happy events for granted so it doesnt feel as powerful as it should, and then when a sad event (chas v'shalom!) comes along, only then is when people use their emotions to become a better person.
Simchas nowadays have become something of "social obligations" than true simchas. I believe my father posted about this on his blog when we had my brothers bar mitzva, which Baruch Hashem was much more than a social obligation, it was a social simcha success!
I really think that if people put aside this notion that "Oy, its another bar mitzva we have to attend" and instead think along the lines of "Mazal Tov! I can't believe he's 13 already! I'm so excited for you!" then people will be able to grow from a feeling of simcha just the same amount as they can grow from a feeling of sadness, without chas v'shalom having to feel sadness in order to grow.