Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Absolute Joy

I had an incredible experience last week.

A very close friend of mine was getting married out of town, and I knew that it would be important to him that I be there. My wife (who is a true tzaddeikes in every sense of the word) agreed to load the kids into the car and make the trek to my hometown, where another friend of mine and I would meet and continue on to the wedding while my family spent time with my parents. After the wedding, the two of us would return to spend Shabbos with our respective families.

This friend of mine getting married is a wonderful guy who has had his fair share of struggles in the past; he didn't necessarily fit into the rigid structure of the standard yeshiva, and the loss of his mother years ago gave him a perspective on life that many of his contemporaries couldn't share. He came to my beloved yeshiva years ago, and even after he moved on to other places, we maintained contact.

While he reiterated numerous times that he didn't expect me to make the trip and would have no complaints if I didn't attend, I still felt that if I could work it out, I should. Nobody told him about out plans, so when I showed up at the wedding hall, he was flabbergasted to see me. I wish I had a picture of his reaction...

In any event, the wedding was a truly beautiful occasion, and during the dancing, something wonderful happened.

I wanted to write about this sooner, but the words that would accurately describe the atmosphere, the buzzing energy that filled the hall during this amazing simcha, seemed to be beyond me. Even now, I am struggling to find appropriate terms for what I believe everyone who was there felt. The pure joy that permeated the hall was tangible; the air positively crackled as family and friends held hands and danced their hearts out, stamping their feet, whipping around in circles of increasing speed, whirling like dervishes in the middle for the newlywed couple. Middle aged men staggered out of the circle, red-faced, sweaty, and smiling, inspired by the mood enough to act out of character. I felt myself transported back a few years, to my own wedding - which was really the last place that I had completely thrown myself into the dancing - and there was something powerful moving me.

For me, seeing my friend in such a state of happiness brought things into a certain clarity: all of his paths and trials - all of the questions and issues - led to this moment; a resounding crescendo of ecstasy that points a finger to the heavens and acknowledges that every choice we make brings us to certain points in our life in which Gods providence is clear and undeniable. Standing for a moment amidst the revelry, surrounding by spinning bodies with the bass from the DJ's speakers traveling up my feet and into my heart, I knew that I had to savor this moment, this rush of true joy.

I sat down at the first available seat and just tried to ride on the feeling that I was having, rocking back and forth. I wanted to grasp and cling to the awesome hergeish, to bask in it, but more importantly to internalize it and carry it with me, as if one could bottle a beautiful summer day and sell it. After all, this is a large part of what we're striving for: tapping into those deep emotions and feelings, and then holding onto them tightly.

I didn't know what else to do, so taking a page from Rebbe Nachman, I turned my feelings into a prayer. I asked God to look around at the joy that was so clear and whole, that filled up the space of the hall and left no room for anything else, certainly not negativity. I begged Him to take this same feeling and expand it, to bestow it on the entire world, to let everyone know this kind of simcha and to completely remove any lingering sign of sadness, bitterness, sickness, or strife. That this coming year, 5771, should be a year of only simcha, the year of the final, redemptive simcha in which all the righteous ones will dance around HaShem "sitting" in the center, and will point towards Him, crowning Him in the way that it was always meant to be...

What a beautiful time I had...


Anonymous said...

What beauty your sentiments express I felt it. thanks

Anonymous said...