How to collapse in style

Yes, it has been a while since I last posted- thank G-d, for good reason. Our daughter got married a few days before the frenzy of the High Holiday season. Between the wedding and Yom Tov, I’ve been run off my feet.

Shaina’s been busy too.

You get no prizes for guessing who was the chief cheerleader at her sister’s wedding. Shaina started singing at least a week before the Chupah. On the big day, she bopped her way through the hair and makeup sessions. (In fairness, she did sit still for a full three minutes to have her hair done. And while she was about it, insisted on lipstick and eyeliner).

Others might pose daintily and smile for photos. Not Shaina. She belted out a wedding tune each time the photographer raised his camera. And Shaina doesn’t do solos; she insisted everyone sing along with her. She later enthusiastically clapped her way through the ceremony.

When Bride and Groom ran into the hall, Shaina launched onto the dance floor at full throttle. She danced with the bride, her sisters, the groom’s mom, her carers, her amazing school team, her favs from Shul and a bunch of surprised men. She’d totter over to the men’s circle for a spin, then dash back to the ladies and then back again to the men. This little girl didn’t slow down until the band paused for dinner.

Then she collapsed in a heap, spread-eagled on the dance floor. We were sure one of us would have to take her home early.

Nope. As soon as the guitarist strummed the first notes of a new dance set, Shaina leapt up for round two.

This girl usually hits the pillow no later than eight. She konks out after her therapies or half a school day. Here she danced the night away, only running out of steam at around 11 p.m.

We knew she would not make it to school the following day and assumed she’d be too wiped out to join us for Sheva Brachot in the evening.

Wrong! She tagged along for a second night on the town, beaming through the meal and inserting herself right between the newlyweds at the main table. The same Shaina who often plonks herself down in the middle of the street because she’s too tired to walk morphed into the Energizer Bunny for the wedding week. We were knackered, but she perked up with each “Od Yishama”.

We all could have done with some downtime after the week of celebration. Instead, we hurtled headlong into the year’s busiest Jewish season. For a month, we hosted meals and conducted Shul services, events and outreach activities. It was nonstop, wonderful and utterly exhausting.

For the first time in my rabbinic career, I had to drag myself to the traditional dancing with the Torahs on Simchat Torah evening. I wasn’t sure where I’d find the energy to wind up our community for the festivities. Shaina, by contrast, bounded into Shul to dance and twirl till she dropped. Watching her antics helped jump-start me.

When I returned home after midnight, I reflected on Shaina’s atypical energy bursts. On average, she needs at least one nap to get through the day. A simple game whacks her. But when there’s simcha around, she transforms into a powerhouse of smiles and dance moves.

Our lives centre on work, responsibilities and achievements. We find celebrations tiring. Shaina has the right idea: Normal life is sometimes exhausting, but make sure to explode into life when there’s an opportunity for joy.

Published by rabbiarishishler

Husband, father and rabbi of Chabad of Strathavon in Johannesburg, South Africa.

9 thoughts on “How to collapse in style

  1. What a beautiful posting. Shaina’s enthusiasm and joy brought Hashem’s brochas into the Simcha and also to the Yom Tovim.
    Mazaltov Mazaltov thank you for sharing.
    Rabbi Ari & Naomi I remember being with you at your Simcha and now you have two married children and a grandson ❤️🌹🎊🌺🎉WOW WOW WOW


  2. What an absolutely amazing child, we all have so many lessons to learn from her.
    Mazeltov Mazeltov again for the wedding, may you all be showered with blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. To describe a reaction to Shaina is almost impossible – your beautifully descriptive stories of her daily routines and adventures makes one tingle with joy and amazement. As for her energy levels, I can only admire her openness and happy go lucky attitude. I wish we could all be so radiant and free of the fear to display our emotions. Love her to bits!

    Liked by 1 person

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