In the Sheva B’rachot, the traditional seven wedding blessings, the final blessings make reference to the joy of children at play, and the joyous sounds of shouting and singing that happens when we gather together in celebrations.
Over the pandemic, I often thought about this blessing. We live close to the Myers Elementary School, and before the children returned- our neighborhood was quiet and empty. I missed that cheering, that laughter, and the sense of community that I could hear from a block away. I never thought much about how much those sounds meant to me until they were gone. Even though the Cheltenham School District went back in February, the volume of our neighborhood remained quiet until the Spring.
Over these few months, the volume returned, even with masks, laughter returned to our neighborhood. Once again, the shouting and the singing could be heard from blocks away. These sounds are a blessing. They are the blessing of love, the blessing of hope, and the blessing of community.
This week, the joy of children at play returned to KI as well! Our preschool opened for camp on Monday. Our building has been completely infused with happiness! How wonderful it is to have our playground filled with new friendships and fun. How wonderful is it to hear our Preschool Director, Liz Sussman, playing guitar and children singing! How wonderful is it to hear the volume of joy cranked up!
I hope that you too have experienced some volume of joy returning to your lives. I share with you a wonderful translation of the final blessing of the Sheva B’rachot so you can keep your ears open to increased happiness and let it fill your hearts with wholeness and a smile.
From the Rabbi’s Manual ~ CCAR 1988
We praise You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe, Creator of joy and gladness, bride and groom, lone and kinship, peace and friendship- O God, may there always be heard in the cities of Israel and in the streets of Jerusalem: the sounds of joy and of happiness, the voices of the wedding couple, the shouts of young people celebrating, the songs of children at play. We praise You, our God, who causes the bride and groom to rejoice together.