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The Pain of Love

Thursday, 31 January, 2019 - 9:33 pm


Question of the Week:


A friend's mother passed away tragically the day before her wedding. As I understand it, Jewish law says the wedding should go ahead. But does this make sense? How can anyone celebrate a wedding after experiencing such pain? 




Every person goes through pain, and every person has times of joy. Sometimes we are challenged to experience both at the same time. And the human heart has an amazing capacity to hold conflicting emotions all at once. 


There is a kabbalistic teaching that the heart has two sides, two distinct chambers. We can feel intense pain in one side of the heart, and profound joy in the other. In fact, not only can those two strong emotions coexist, they sometimes stem from the same source.


The death of a loved one hurts so much because we feel our connection is lost. The pain is deeper when the bond is deeper. This is the pain of love.


A wedding is so joyous because it celebrates the union of souls. The connection that is being created under the chuppah, that sense of being whole, brings a profound sense of happiness. This is the joy of love. 


Your friend is experiencing these two opposite emotions, pain and joy, all at once. One side of the heart can be full of joy while the other side cries in pain. Because on a deeper level, both come from the same source. Love is the result of human connection. And pain comes from that very same connection. We only feel pain because we love. And our capacity for love is broadened when our heart feels pain. 


It is not a betrayal of her mother to celebrate. It is honouring her. May G-d give her strength to be able to move between the two sides of her heart, to allow the pain to fully express itself, and allow the joy to shine through.


Good Shabbos,

Rabbi Moss



Zohar II 255a



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