Let Grandma Fit into the Dance Circle

A personal letterfrom a bride to her friends before her wedding which enabled the wedding totake place with full joy, but without leaving the older women outside the dancefloor* In Hashem’s central revelation to Yaacov Avinu, he was not told to studyGemara carefully, nor to develop solidarity or pluralism – rather to build andsettle the Land of Israel * Today as well, if we adhere to the Torah’s missionto build the People and the Land, in all spheres and domains, all other matterswill be resolved * If we merit, we can do so without external enemies forcingus to develop the country and the state

The Noble Behavior of Young Women at a Wedding

About a week ago, we merited marrying our daughter. Many of the guests were particularly fond of her young friends, graduates of the ‘Shirat Hayam’ Ulpana in Neveh Tzuf, who, together with their joy, treated the older women with great respect, and during the dance sessions all the guests were able to participate in the dancing and receive a respectable place. This, despite the fact that these are young and lively girls of about eighteen years old, who learned music and dance as part of their studies in Ulpana. On Shabbat ‘Sheva Berachot’ when I praised the happy, noble, beautiful and moral behavior of the girls, the director of the Ulpana, Abigail Goldstein said that the letter written by our daughter to her friends, also played a significant part. Afterwards, I read the letter that was sent as a ‘Whatsapp’ message. I was moved, and thought it was good to publish it – in order to make other brides and their young friends more sensitive to include all the participants in their joy.

“Dear and beloved friends:

My wedding is comingsoon, and this makes me extremely happy and very moved.

I would be glad if youcould take a few minutes to read some points that are important to me to write toyou before the wedding.

I am very happy that you will be coming to rejoice with me on this very special day. I really want to thank everyone for dedicating an evening to me, and going out of your way. This is something I do not take for granted.

I want to share the greatest pressure I have before the wedding: that one of my guests will get hurt on my account, and that I ignore it by accident…

I thought of two things that would help: 1) that from the start, I would try to make sure that it did not happen. 2) that you, my friends, will try to understand the emotional and practical burden I face.

And … if I can ask, help me give a place to all the people I care about. To my mother, to my grandmothers, to my sisters, to the groom’s family.

Friends usually know how to act, but the close family is sometimes pushed aside because of enthusiastic friends who want to dance with the bride once more … (I really hope that where this is coming from is understood…).

A wedding is such a big thing. With God’s help, everyone here will merit this at a time that suits her, easily and pleasingly (Amen!). I do not want to find myself on social media. Besides that, I do not want to be faced with cellphones at my chuppa. I want to be in front of the people I love (and of course, I do not expect everyone to be there…) and I hope that everyone as a bride will agree with me … It is also a matter of a wedding being of a higher level, and a desire not to diminish it, and also a matter of honor. I hired a photographer, I expect only him to photograph this moment.

Last point. I feel that this is far beyond our private wedding. I have studied this at weddings frequently. I see these women, a little older (and also the men) whose movements, speed (more correctly – their slowness), and age transmit to the youth some hidden message of “we are irrelevant …” but they continue to dance in the outer circle (continuing, because it is important for them to make the bride and groom happy, and because they want to take part in the joy). And even if they manage to sneak in a bit, they soon find themselves outside the circle.

True, this is a different age. They also do not want to be at the center all the time, they are not in the closest circle to the bride and groom, and perhaps not even the next one.

But something with this reality always seems a bit sad to me. I wish we could, even a little (and a bit could really do it), give room to these people. A little more adults … one round, so they will not be in the most outer circle all the time…

And ‘amen’ that this become a general rule in other weddings.

And that we be able to rejoice and make others happy, and to connect to this great day of establishing another house among the Jewish people.

Good tidings to all of you, with God’s help!!!

Thank you very much for those who have read to this point.

We’ll meet at the wedding, with such great love.”

What should God have said to Yaakov Avinu

One of the most significant revelations that God revealed to man is the revelation to Yaakov Avinu when he came to Bet-El. “He came to a familiar place and spent the night there because the sun had already set. Taking some stones, he placed them at his head and lay down to sleep there. He had a vision in a dream. A ladder was standing on the ground, and its top reached up toward heaven. Suddenly he saw God standing over him. [God] said, ‘I am God, Lord of Abraham your father, and Lord of Isaac.” (Genesis 28:11). And at this point we would expect to hear what this important, essential, and vital thing is that God has to say to Yaakov.

If we stopped for a moment and asked the members of the various circles, what do they think God should say to Yaakov, we would probably get different answers. The Lithuanians would say: “Learn Gemara in detail.” The Hasidim would say, “Strengthen yourself in faith, joy, and abstention.” The people of the Shas party would say, “Learn halakha according to Maharan.” B’nei Akiva students would say, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The modern religious people would say, “Derech Eretz Kadma la’Torah.” Intellects from the academia would say: “Be pluralistic, and doubt all given views.”

What God said to Yaacov

But the Holy One, Blessed be He, said: “I will give to you and your descendants the land upon which you are lying.” And as a result “All the families on earth will be blessed through you and your descendants”. This is the Divine revelation. And indeed, Yaacov Avinu realized the enormity of the holiness of the Land, and said: ‘God is truly in this place, but I did not know it… How awe-inspiring this place is! It must be God’s temple. It is the gate to heaven!”(Genesis 28: 13-17).

And if the members of the various circles claim: True – this time Hashem spoke about the People and the Land, but there are other revelations and other verses – well, even in the revelation where Hashem revealed Himself to Yaakov after his return to Israel, which was also in Bet El, Hashem said to Yaakov: “Be fruitful and increase. A nation and a community of nations will come into existence from you. Kings will be born from your loins. I will grant you the land that I gave to Avraham and Yitzchak. I will also give the land to your descendants who will follow you.” (Genesis 35:11-12) Thus, in all the revelations to Yaacov, Hashem always spoke about the People and the Land, in Haran as well (Genesis 31: 3), and also when he was about to descend to Egypt (Genesis 46:2-4).

What Would Be Said Today

And what would Haredi newspaper reporters say about it? If it had not been written explicitly in the Torah itself, it would have been reported that Hashem had said to study Gemara in-depth, or halakha. However, the verses are written explicitly, and consequently they say that the main thing is to listen to the “Gedoylim” who say that right is left. For the Hasidim, they have no problem at all, since the Land is an aspect of ratzon (will), and the people of Israel are an aspect of devaykut (devotion), and consequently, there is no longer any need for the Land of Israel. Modern religious people say that it is impossible to stand against the entire world. And pluralistic academics say that it is very doubtful whether today there is a mitzvah to settle the Land, and that there are different opinions, and different versions, and that the Torah has seventy different faces.

But the honest, religious, Haredim, and traditional people know the enormous value of the love of their people and their country, and strive with dedication to strengthen the nation in yishuv ha’aretz (settling the Land).

Through Yishuv Ha’Aretz All Matters Will be Resolved

Once again, Hashem revealed himself to Yaakov Avinu in the parasha, the only time He revealed himself to Yaacov in Haran, and this revelation, of course, also deals with the Land of Israel: “Now set out and leave this land. Return to the land where you were born.” (Genesis 31:13). Yaacov presumably must have asked to receive instruction in the matter of his marriage and his business with Lavan, but it was only with regards to his return to the Land of Israel that God appeared to him. A fundamental and profound idea can be learned from this: when the goal is clear, to establish a people and settle the Land, the means to achieve the goal also become clear, and in the end, everything is resolved. Therefore, there is no need for any additional revelation.

The Great Objective – Today as Well

True, we have indeed received the Torah and all its mitzvot, but we still seem to need guidance in precisely how to implement the Torah’s goals. The solution is to remember the great objective that is stated in the Torah, the Prophets, and the words of our Sages, that after the sins and the punishment of exile, we must ascend to the Land from all the exiles, and settle the Land.

To achieve this, we must develop all our talents, spiritual and practical, national and individual, the sciences and industry, economics and organization, literature and music, and as a result the redemption of the nation and the world at large will draw closer.

Ideally, it would be correct to develop all these talents without outside pressures, for the mitzvah of settling the Land is to reveal the spiritual ideas in all talents revealed in the world. But if we fail to do so, we are faced with numerous problems, both internal and external, and forced to develop all the talents as we fight our enemies and struggle for our existence.

Out of the Torah – The Recognition of the Value of the Land

Our Sages said that when Yaakov Avinu had to flee from Esav and leave on his parents’ mission to Haran to find his companion, he first chose to submerge himself in the Beit Midrash of Ever. There he labored diligently on the Torah for fourteen years. At the end of the study period he went to Haran, “He came to a familiar place and spent the night there because the sun had already set… and lay down to sleep there” (Genesis 28:11). Rashi explains: “In that place he laid down, but for the fourteen years he served in the house Ever, he did not lay down at night, for he was engaged in Torah study.”

We see then that all the fourteen years Yaacov engaged in Torah, prepared him for Divine revelation and the promise that “I will give to you and your descendants the land upon which you are lying… You shall spread out to the west, to the east, to the north, and to the south”.

 This is the merit when Torah is learned with integrity – it adds health, naturalness, and blessing to the world. Indeed, as a result, Yaacov continued to work diligently and saw great blessing in the herds he raised.

This article appears in the ‘Besheva’ newspaper, and was translated from Hebrew.

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