Simcha, Hebrew for “joy” or “gladness”, is a response to one’s internal climate (Reb. Tziporah Heller). Simcha involves creating and connecting (Reb. Heller).

During this past year, I learned I can feel simcha even while in aveilus (mourning*). Removed from the typical external simcha stimuli, I still feel creative and want to connect. I notice the soft pink, rose, orange, and yellow sunrises now more than ever. Sunsets have always attracted me. Now I watch the progression…the sensational light show. I see through the artificial city lights to Hashem’s (G-d’s) true lights. And I feel simcha and serene.

I stop and smell the sweet lavender bush on my street. I notice deep orange and black butterflies. I perceive and appreciate Hashem’s artwork on a more profound level than before aveilus.

Life flits by, like a butterfly…

Butterfly nearby (c) Sherri Leah Henkin


…I want to grasp the moment and really see it.






May these words elevate my father’s soul, Yoel Meir ben Simcha.

*A child observes certain stringencies during the first year after a parent’s passing. Sources: and