Should I Go?
by Rabbi Michoel Gourarie
I just received an invitation from my friend to her son's Bar Mitzvah. Unfortunately a few years ago we had a bad fall out. I was terribly offended and hurt, our relationship was badly damaged and we never really resolved anything.
We haven't spoken since. I feel strange and even hypocritical to attend the Bar Mitzvah. I am still hurting and can't just pretend that everything is okay. What do you think?
I am not aware of all the details and certainly don't want to undermine the intensity of your anger and hurt. But let me share with you an old Jewish expression:
"Better to have false peace than real conflict."
Repairing damaged relationships is difficult and complex. The path to resolving a dispute is challenging. It takes willingness, patience and strength of character on both sides.
But standing on ceremonies and hanging on to the conflict guarantees that it will linger on and never come to an end. Insisting on correct protocol and waiting for the right person to apologise first is always ineffective.
The first step towards resolution is to break down boundaries, melt the ice and create an opportunity for communication.
Maybe your friend hasn't done the right thing. But sincerely or not, she has reached out. Now is not the time to analyse her exact motives or to pursue the absolute truth. It is far better to grab the opportunity and hopefully begin a process of repairing the relationship.
By attending the Bar Mitzvah you are not a hypocrite, nor are you making a statement that everything is okay. You are merely saying that while there is still unresolved issues you nevertheless wish her well and are prepared to begin the process of restoring the friendship.
Go to the simcha, relax and enjoy.