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).
(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.