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Dance of Love

Dance of Love

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A friend of mine recently gave birth to a baby boy. This child was not my friend’s first, but was born after a handful of other wonderful, talented and healthy children.

This past Sunday afternoon, I attended the brit milah (circumcision) celebration. There were many other well-wishers celebrating in the birth and joy of a new life.

But the celebration was a bittersweet one; the newborn baby was born with Down Syndrome.

We all stood solemnly in the shul listening to the blessings ushering the baby into the covenant of Abraham, our forefather. At the conclusion of the blessings we all wished mazal tov to the parents and the many relatives present. Soon a joyous song and dance broke out, attracting, like a magnet, more and more into its circle.

There was an undercurrent of raw emotion in the large room. Entranced, I watched the circle of dancers and the smiling onlookers who clapped along.

I noticed one woman’s husband dancing around and around. I knew that this man was battling a severe life-threatening illness.

Another in the circle was a father whose child was severely physically challenged. His wife stood a few rows behind me. She wore a gentle smile on her lips, but her deep-set eyes revealed the story of her trials.

A close friend and confidant was also present, observing and smiling. I knew that she had been trying futilely to have a child of her own.

More and more continued to join, and as the circle turned, I noticed a man who had recently lost his job and was in dire financial straits.

These were but a few of the people present. I was sure that many others were also carrying in their hearts their own little package of sorrow, their own little bundle of pain.

As I stood watching, the rhythm of the happy song overtook me, becoming the dance and rhythm of life itself, in which we were all taking part as we expressed our thanks to our Creator.

And as I studied the scene, I thought how we humans are endowed with such an enormous range of emotions. I marveled at the depth and intensity of love one can feel for a child, for a spouse, for a parent. I wondered how this immensity of feeling can be contained within such finite beings. Yet our emotions assert themselves constantly, almost having a life of their own, full of texture and depth, full of cravings, wants and desires.

They are real; they feel real. From the happiness of a gentle, graceful moment to the despair of a dark hour overshadowed by grief.

If only I could capture and preserve forever the lightness of pure and undiluted joy, hope or happiness! If only I could throw a switch that would stop the floods of sadness, frustration and sorrow!

But watching the circle, I saw how we cannot stop the torrents of feelings. Instead, we all ride the roller coaster of life, loving the moments on the top but aware with certainty that these will plunge, too, to moments of struggles, as the ride of life races forward.

And as I watched, I thought about the commandment to love You, our G‑d, unconditionally, with the entire range of our feelings, with all our might, all our passions and all of ourselves.

I thought how this love is revealed each time, despite what You put us through. Despite the difficulties and struggles. Despite the depth of anger, frustration and despair. Despite the heaviness and the pain. Despite how our moments of gratification and joy far too rapidly become tinged with loss and despair.

Despite the apparent unfairness of life.

Despite knowing all this, and feeling it even deeper.

Despite this all, we take this whole mixed bag, the whole gamut of emotions—the positives and the negatives, the happiness and the hurt, the goodness and the grief—and we still present it all to You, as we dance around and around in the circle of life, singing and celebrating our love to You.

Is a greater form of unconditional love possible?

Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.
Painting by Chassidic artist Hendel Lieberman.
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Anonymous USA August 7, 2013

Dance of Love I have learnt so much with Chabad.org in the closeness of my little room. Although have not been able to participate in your gatherings, I am grateful for the lessons. Thank you Chana Weisberg for your efforts in teaching all of us. Reply

Chana Jerusalem August 6, 2013

you excelled yourself in this article An article to treasure and replenish from, thank you. Reply

Hadassah North Miami Beach August 2, 2013

Condolences What a beautiful meaningful article. May Hashem console you and your family among the other mourners of tzion and Yerushalayim. The cycle of life continues and we need strength to go on in the face of loss. Reply

Anonymous August 1, 2013

dance of love I will keep this essay in my file and read it when I feel estranged from G-d.
The author is a loving , compassionate and deeply spiritual person, who understands pain.
I hope to continue to learn from her. Reply

Sarah Rivka :) Cincinnati, OH July 31, 2013

Wow! This is beautiful; brought tears to my eyes. It expresses so many thoughts that I've had myself but have not been able to express so clearly. Reply

Pauline Norcross Nawroth Florida July 31, 2013

It is so hard for me to follow the happiness when so much sorrow has befallen one.
Yes, I try to keep that smile on my face as well ans keeping my mouth shut. A saying I have adopted for some years now since the loss of my last husband. Almost seven years now, living alone, doing alone and growing so old I can hardly bear it. True. I must go on till I am stopped by the almighty. God alone knows how I feel each moment I am awake. Reply

Anonymous July 30, 2013

Dance of Love! Well said. I enjoy your articles. Reply