With the Omer well on its way, simcha season is quickly approaching and it is inevitable that there will be many difficult decisions that need to be made in the upcoming weeks.
One of our readers asked the following question: “I’ve received invitations for two different smachot on the same weekend. One is a wedding and one is a bar mitzvah and both are close friends. Which one should take precedence?”
Alright, take a deep breath. Obviously, there is no right or wrong answer. Each situation requires a close evaluation of the people involved, the history of the relationship with those friends, and the specific logistics involved.
If it is convenient enough that you are able to attend both, then that would probably be the best solution. Although you might not fully enjoy yourself at either venue since you are rushing from one to another, at least you have pacified both your friends by making an obvious effort to show up at both their smachot.
If one of the affairs were that of a family member, then I think that would have to take precedence. Family is family and friends should understand this.
If you are unable to make it to both due to timing and geography, then you should consider having your spouse attend one simcha and you the other. Sure, it’s ideal to be together at the same party, but it would demonstrate a real appreciation to both families if you split up.
If that is not feasible, then you really need to think about which person you’re closer to. Whichever friend’s simcha you have chosen not to attend, you should reach out to her immediately (and in person, if possible) notifying her of your conflict so as to minimize hurt feelings. (You can also send a note of thanks with an explanation of your conflict and hope that they will be understanding.)
The baalei simcha also have a responsibility not be unreasonable when it comes to smachot.
Our friends and family have lives of their own too. The whole world does not need to stop because you are making a simcha. You should have faith and trust that your good friends will do whatever they can to ensure they are able to share your simcha with you. But, if there is a conflict, however trivial you may think it is, try to be understanding as well. It’s unfortunate to think about how many fights are caused because of the unrealistic expectations we have for our friends and family.
There will be conflicts and stress and even sleepless nights, but it is imperative to remember that truly being mesameach one’s simcha is an understanding that ultimately the simcha is about the people making it and not about YOU.
by P’nina Seplowitz