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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

 

SIMCHA CHESSED

I don’t mean the age old Minhag of brining joy to the Chosson and Kalleh.
I’m talking (actually writing) about people who sit at weddings or other Simchas and appear to be bored out of their minds.

It’s normal for people to automatically look up people they know, from the Beth Medrish, Yeshiva, or same neighborhood. Taking a chair next to friends, even though you were seated at another table, is pretty common.

Often however there is this one guest who doesn’t seem to fit in any category.
Perhaps a business relation from another town or country, an old Yeshiva mate from one of the Mechetonims, in any case someone who appears t have no one to schmooze with.

It’s happened to me a few times.
While in Israel for a few weeks, I was invited to the Bar Mitzvah of a distant cousin.
I planned not to go but they insisted, so I went.
I was seated on a table where everybody spoke Hebrew and very little English.
One of the men was smoking, thereby spoiling my appetite.
Except for a few polite pleasantries it was obvious that my tablemates were all acquaintances of each other and felt more comfortable exchanging news and ideas between them.

It’s also happened to me in my own city.
I was at the third wedding that week, seated with people that remember my father as a kid, bored stiff.
Sure there were people I know present, but everyone seemed to have a conversation partner already and you just pick up sometimes by the greeting you get, when trying to join in, that three’s a crowd.

That’s when a guy I had never seen before asked if the seat next to mine was available.
Then he proceeded to ask my name, relation to Chosson/Kalleh etc…
At first I was annoyed, I thought it was one of those exasperating curious guys, that need to know everybody’s name, what they do or don't, and by whom they are an Eidem (son-in-law)
As it was, he turned out to be a nice person, enjoyable to talk too, and time flew by till it was time to hit the dance floor (on which I never stay longer than 5 minutes).

He doesn’t even know how much I appreciated it then and still do.
He probably doesn’t even realize what a Chessed he did for me.
There I was, bored, annoyed, and angry with my wife for not wanting to go already.
At the end, she was the one to insist we get going.
Instead of a lousy time I had a nice time.
And the next day I was able to sincerely say to the Ba’al Simcha “it was a lovely wedding”.

I hope I’ll get a chance to reciprocate with him or to someone else, like me at that wedding.

Comments:
For me there are 3 types of weddings:

1- Where I know at least half of the poeple there and always have who to talk to. That's good.

2- Where I know noone and have noone to talk to and just sit by myself on the side and observe everyone. That's good.

3- Where I know some people but have noone to talk to and I feel like the people I know are looking at me from afar and feeling bad for me because I have noone to talk to, when in reality I totally don't mind it except for the fact that they're pitying me. That's bad.
 
You describe that pretty well,
I'm quite surprised to read that, out of the three there are two occasions, where you have no one to talk to.
I would think you’re the kind of person everyone wants to have a chat with, on any occasion.
On the other hand, unfortunately I know that it’s not always the most interesting people who attract the masses.
At school I was excluded from a good number of group conversations, because I had seen a documentary or no TV at all, rather than the ‘big’ (a.k.a silly, meaningless, waste of time…) game.
 
By such things, what goes around comes around.

Funny thing is, I was reading somewere else how this lady writes that she had a problem of being put by the table of all the 'misfits' i.e. the people who had no one to talk to, so the started talking by themselvs.
 
Interesting post!

I know the feeling. I hate being at simchas where i am bored. I would rather a stranger strike up a conversation with me, than sitting there waiting for the right time to "Escape"

I too try to strike up a conversation with people who seem "out of place" or bored at simchas where I am enjoying myself.

Peace1

NJ from NJ
 
I totally know what you mean. I used to be the kind of person who, when not knowing anyone at a simcha would just sit around bored. I have learned that a friendly smile and "Hi, how are you", to a total stranger is all you need to break the ice... thank G-d for maturity.
 
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