If we could all just sit back and think for a moment about the world that we had three months ago and compare it to the world we live in today…
Kids used to go to schools and freely play in parks. We used to go shopping at supermarkets and malls. We went here and there with nothing to fear. We had guests coming over to our house. We went to their house. People went traveling around the world.
The weddings? Four, five, six hundred people! Beautiful flowers! Ten piece band! Food galore!
And suddenly, everything just took a sudden turn. Everything came to a screeching halt. There were no schools; everything was operating through zoom or phone conferencing. We were too scared to go shopping; people went in and out. Shuls were closed down; people prayed at home. Traveling was basically restricted. The weddings were so simple, in back yards like in the old country.
It's amazing how everything just turned upside-down in such a quick fashion.
But one question I want to put out to everyone is regarding the type of parties we used to organize. Do we really need to spend so much money on all the excessive food, entertainment, etc.? Do we really need to have weddings that cost so much money where tens, upon tens, of thousands of dollars goes down the toilet?!
Maybe one thing we could learn from this pandemic is that simplicity can be classy as well. There were very classy weddings during the past couple of weeks, but they were also very simple. It wasn't as lavish. It wasn't as eye dropping but it did the trick. It accomplished its goal. People were happy. The chatan and kallah got married. They're starting their own family life.
Be'ezrat Hashem, we hope and pray that all this illness and disease leaves us. But the question is, once it does, are we going to go back to the old ways where people are trying to compete with each other? To make sure that what you did last week for your party, I won't do this week for mine because I will outdo you?
Or will we ask ourselves, “Why is all this money going to waste?” Let's give some of the money to the chatan and kallah! Give them a head start to their relationship! Give some of it to charity! Many needy families could put it to good use! We don't have to flush so much money down the toilet just so that we can impress the people around us!
If there's one thing we can learn from this pandemic, it is that simplicity can be very classy.
These are questions that we all have to ask ourselves. Was this habit of ours doing things in a grandeur fashion, is that really the way it should be? Do we really need to knock everyone’s eyes out? Or should we go back to the ways of the old country where the parties were classy, and full of real joy?
Fact is that back then, the people making the wedding, the parents that were investing in the party, came home feeling great. Today, many parents come home from their child’s wedding with heartache knowing that they have debts piling on.
I think we as a community should try to see what changes and what adjustments we can make, to assure future parties are ones that are full of joy and not ones that brings unnecessary financial burden and stress upon the family members involved.
May we all get together in only happy occasions, Amen!
By Rabbi Ilan Meirov
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