Mishmeres HaSholom: Ask the Rav

Q: While schmoozing with a friend I said to her, “I was invited to So-and-So’s wedding tonight, but they didn’t bother coming to my daughter’s wedding, so I don’t really have an obligation to attend theirs.” My friend told me that she thinks my statement involved the following transgressions: First, I said it in a way that connotes negativity about the family who didn’t attend our wedding. Secondly, that I transgressed the prohibitions of “Lo sikom v’lositor” by missing their simchah because they didn’t attend our wedding.

Because it is common practice that people make an effort to attend simchos of others who came to their simchah, I was wondering if this would really be considered a transgression.

A: It is indeed accepted that people try to reciprocate by attending each other’s simchos; it isn’t praiseworthy to not show up at a simchah simply because the hosts didn’t attend yours. Sometimes it is difficult to get out of the house, and you may take into consideration that if they didn’t come to your simchah, you wouldn’t feel obligated to make the effort to attend theirs.

As far as the transgressions you ask about: There were no issurim of nekamah or netirah,  because you weren’t speaking out of revenge, chalilah. Your intention, as we mentioned above, was to clarify that you didn’t feel obligated to go out of your way to attend their child’s wedding. It was, however, incorrect to express this in a negative manner. Instead, you should have given them the benefit of the doubt, by saying, “They must have been really busy if they didn’t attend our daughter’s wedding, and because it is difficult for me to get out of the house I think that I have the liberty of not showing up this time.”

You are not obligated to ask for mechilah in this instance; only to accept upon yourself to guard your speech in the future and to make an effort to judge others favorably.