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Chapter 126:4
Remembering the Destruction of Jerusalem

4. One should take care not to attend the animal trapping contests held by Gentiles; similarly, one should not attend their dances or other celebrations. Should one hear the sounds of their celebrations, one should sigh ("Te'onach") and agonize ("ti'tzta'er") over the destruction of Jerusalem, and pray to the Holy One, blessed be He, on [Jerusalem's] behalf.

It is also forbidden to attend similar Jewish contests, because these are "gatherings of the frivolous" ("moshav leitzim"). All [similar] forms of celebration are forbidden. One may, however, bring joy to a bride and groom both by singing and playing musical instruments, however, one should not celebrate too wildly ("ein li'smoach be'yoser") (1). A person is forbidden to "fill his mouth with laughter" ( that is, celebrate to the highest degree) even when the happiness associated with a mitzvah is involved, as [implied by Psalms 126:2]: "THEN our mouths will be filled with laughter ("s'chok") " (that is, only in the Messianic era) (2).

FOOTNOTES:

(1) As we saw in HY 126:3, all forms of live music, song and celebration are permissible when a mitzvah is involved.

(2) According to the Mishna Berura (560:20), overly wild celebrations and frivolity cause people to forget about the commandments. Others say that it leads to sexual immorality. The Oruch HaShulchan (560:8) states that this prohibition only applies to public celebrations, that last for an extended period of time.

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