As Oprah Radio Radio celebrates its second anniversary, Rabbi Shmuley reflects on the importance of anniversaries and why we celebrate them. He says anniversaries, by definition, commemorate important events in our lives. "There are both happy and sad anniversaries. Certainly the main milestones in our lives we should celebrate," he says. The day you got engaged, the day you got married, the the passing of your parents—[they] are all anniversaries to be recognized, he says. "They help you relive the experience," Rabbi Shmuley says. "It commemorates not your ability to remember the past but the capacity to relive it in the present."
Anniversaries can also be stressful because of the expectations surrounding them, Rabbi Shmuley says. "People can get depressed and anxious about them. For example, if you lost a parent, around the anniversary of their death you might start feeling sad again, even if you're gone through the mourning process," he says. "These important dates can be filled with emotion, even if we feel like we're over it the rest of the year."
Then, Rabbi Shmuley says, there are anniversaries that should not be commemorated. He thinks high school reunions fall in that category. "While well intentioned, high school reunions can be a chore for those of us who weren't popular or were a little geeky, " Rabbi Shmuley says. "I felt awkward at high school and even more awkward at [my high school] reunion." These kind of anniversaries, Rabbi Shmuley says, are optional—you should only take part if you think you'll have some fun at them!
"Anniversaries are important, not because they commemorate an earlier event, but because they help us relive it. When a husband and wife celebrate an anniversary, they re-experience a special emotion created by their marital commitment. Conversely, there are anniversaries that should not be celebrated, because they make us experience things which we are better off forgetting, like our awkward high school years."