1. THERE ARE TWO TORAH STORIES which have troubled me for some time.
2. The first is about the giving of the Ten Statements (AKA the “Ten Commandments,” but “statements” is closer to the actual Hebrew). What should have been a joyful event was marred by the incident of the Golden Calf — epiphany ruined by idolatry.
3. The second has to do with the consecration of the Tabernacle: the portable God-tent containing, among other things, the Ark of the Covenant (which itself contained the aforementioned Statements). This too should have been a happy occasion; it too was mitigated, this time by the Divinely dealt death of Aaron’s two sons after they crossed a ritual line.
4. So too at Jewish weddings, the rejoicing is moderated by the breaking of a glass; a commemoration of the destruction of the Holy Temple (itself a more permanent replacement for the Tabernacle).
5. A Conclusion: There is no joy unalloyed by grief — either in Torah or in life. Wise people, those Torah authors. And more than a bit sobering.