Dear Crown Heights Friends and Family,
I am writing to you with a bakosha nafshis.
Your children are getting married, and you’re inviting me to your simcha. Please don’t let this time to be one where the younger generation moves like a herd of cows, all doing the same thing, without regard to the basic rudiments of respect for others.
Recently, I was invited to the wedding of the daughter of my good dear friend. Of course, I wanted to be at her special simcha. Living far away, I arranged to take three days off of work in order to come to the Crown Heights-based wedding.
I arrived at LaGuardia airport (about ten hours after I left my house!) just on time to get to my hosts and get showered and dressed for the wedding at Oholei Torah, and then rushed to get to the wedding on time.
Arriving at the hall, I was greeted by photographers who told me where not to go, and did get a nice nod from my friend while she was being positioned by said photographers.
Quickly the hall filled up, the music struck up, and I managed to get a smile and hug from my friend. Lots of people at the wedding were friends from the past, but it was not possible to converse. In fact, it was suggested that I wear earplugs to protect my aging ears from the noise, uh, sorry, the music. And so it was the whole evening; impossible to be sociable, with only head motions to friends and eating food.
I stayed till the end; not once did the kallah or her mother come over to greet me (not just me, I wasn’t singled out – none of the guests were privileged to get a greeting from the kallah).
What happened to us? For all of my children’s weddings I went from table to table with my kallah to say l’chaim to my guests. Remember when this was the norm? How did we get to be a community where the weddings are nothing more nor less than night clubs?
When did we throw away the simple nicety of a kallah greeting her invited – yes, invited! – guests? Why, oh why, did I spend three days’ pay and over $500 to travel to an event where the inviters forgot they were hosts?
While everyone is talking about the latest hooplas in their efforts to save Lubavitch and the universe, can we try to remember some basic manners? Or is this just a lost cause remembered only by the ‘eltere chassidim’?