Joined by a crowd of diverse local residents, Bracha Nili Shore, a YU Senior and student at Machon Chana, led Crown Heights’ 4th Poet’s Society Melave Malka meeting, which takes place in the Levi Yitzchock library right off of Kingston Avenue.
This time, the group had an inspiring objective in their literary gathering: divesting the concept of happiness of all its mystique and elusive haze, to reveal its essence–the quality that brings smiles and joy to our hearts and minds. What is it? Where can we find it? And how can we hold on to it? What does the Torah and Chassidus have to say about it?
“We convened, collaborated, and decided. It is a beautiful array of emotions, insights, and intellectual exercise, all of which results in that special something we call “happiness”. Or, we might refer to this feeling as joy, delight, gratitude, blessing, cheer, bliss, or any other synonym we identify with this emotion we call ‘happiness,'” said Bracha.
The meeting started off with some background music to accompany the tea and biscuits, as well as a story about the Maggid and Reb Zusha. They then began an open round-table discussion about what it might mean to “live in happiness”. The poets voiced intriguing ideas such as relationship building, listing points of gratitude, giving to yourself/others, communicating, having bitachon, and acceptance. Analogies from personal life experience included watching light passing between leaves in the place of shadows on the ground; the etymological root of the hebrew word “Ahava”, “love” which contains the word “hav”, “give”; as well as the well-publicized 12 Steps.
The closing exercise consisted of penning the thoughts which spring to mind when contemplating a given array of cards between group members, each card bearing a distinct adjective for happiness. Some poems were about living in the moment, looking back to realize how far you’ve come, making bold decisions, and taking care of yourself. Other poems involved analogies of honey sticking up our lives, and water (Torah) giving us the ability to clear it all away; the aroma of flower conditioner, the feeling of enjoying a cushion from G-d, and a smile so big you can barely speak!
It was an open, non-judgmental, and carefree space where girls could feel comfortable to share the thoughts of the mind and feelings of the heart, in a way which inspires and uplifts us all in our Avodas Hashem, besimcha tamid!
The Poet’s Society takes place on the first Motzei Shabbos of every Jewish month. Contact the Poet’s Society head Bracha Nili Shore at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.