This article was originally written 9 years ago, on the eve of my oldest son’s wedding
This weeks parasha is Parashat Re’eh, from the root word to see. Moshe Rabeinu implores us in the name of Hashem to “Look, See, that I have put before you today blessing and malediction.” Look, my friends, pay attention. There are always 2 roads, 2 courses, 2 paths. Nothing is beyond our being able to make a choice. It is always, all about making choices in life. And the 2 paths are as distinct and diametrically opposed as blessings and curses. One will bring with it infinite grace and benediction and the other will bring with it such misfortune and evil. It is always our choice. We spend our life making choices, selecting, judging, taking risks, calculated or otherwise and gambling.
One of the most major choices we take in life is choosing a life’s partner. It is probably the single most decisive choice that will most determine the rest of our lives. The most important fork in the road called life. We take our time, we tread carefully, we weigh the options but above all we pray. Nothing so big could work without His direct intervention. And then we take the plunge, for better or for worse. And that dear friends is what i would like to share with you this week. The story of the day our dear son and his lovely bride became a couple. The day they took their first baby steps toward the building of a new home in Yisrael. This article is dedicated to all of our dear friends who were here to share it with us from close and to whom we are so grateful for being with us. It is also dedicated to all those of you who shared so lovingly from afar. We missed you so but we felt your heart near. And to all the young couples who are taking these new steps and to all those who have not yet, but G-d willing will soon. And to all of us who did so long ago and wish we could do it over the better way.
Our Sages tell us about this magical day called Tu B’Av, which fell out last week. A day when matches were made, weddings arranged and young hearts came together to find their destiny. Our very own version of Valentines Day. And they further tell us that there were never such good days for Am Yisrael as Tu B’Av and Yom Kippur. That is very dramatic comparison. But truthfully, not such a surprise. A wedding does for the soul exactly what Yom Kipur does. It cleanses, it purifies, it offers hope and it paves the way for a new reality. It opens wide the doors of opportunity and expanded horizons. It allows love and light in to our dreary lives. With both, we are born again. A very appropriate day for a wedding. And so, because this holy day was predestined from the 6 days of Creation as the day these two precious souls would be joined, we prepared for a wedding. Amidst the tears, the pain and the loss, we got ourselves ready for this auspicious occasion. We wore new suits and ties and hats, frills and fine dresses and made a very valiant effort to wear smiles as well. And off we set for the wedding hall went our son, our chatan, and on to the first day of the rest of his life. Our dear son left home that day a half and went home that evening, whole and complete.
Two such young, pure souls. They had met but a number of times but they had the distinct advantage of learning to like each other and respect each other a lot before learning to love each other. And so with infinite faith in each other and in G-d, they pledged themselves to one another. Such wonderful trust and confidence. Such complete courage and sincerity. So pure and innocent. With faith and hope they promised their hearts to one and another for safe keeping and protection, in the prayer that neither would disappoint the other. No other had taken their hearts before, they had never known the pain of misplaced affections or of disloyalty or of deception or rejection. There had never been flirtations, disappointments or breaches of trust. Theirs was a romance in the purest, most modest sense. Virtuous and wholesome. Their hearts were completely open to each other, none had come before, none will come after. They were now to become one, open to letting in the 3rd Partner, Master of the Universe, within their couple. A true nest for G-ds blessings. They had made some important choices in their lives and the Divine Spirit was ready to rest between them.
From the day this child, our son, was born, we raised him for her. He has always lived his life within the walls of the yeshiva. And they may look to be dingy and unkempt to the untrained eye. But in reality they shine and glow with earnestness, with principles, with values. With intense love for all that is noble, graceful and heavenly. And those very simple walls radiate the courage and strength to make all their lofty dreams come true. Not only for themselves but as a calling to their people, to their exalted heritage and ancestry. Those walls gave him hope and confidence to go forth with all he had learned and forge a path for himself, his family and to build a home. No one promises that it will be easy, but it will be worthwhile and they will make it work. They came together as 3 dimensional people, so richly steeped in the education they had received, in the beliefs and faith that they had breathed since youth. They know a life of toil lies ahead but they have the strength of their convictions to guide them. They came together as the sum total of all that came before them and with the dream of all that will G-d willing, come after…
The heavenly angels stood in song at those moments when they were joined in holy matrimony. The sun, the moon and the stars were all in attendance in those glowing moments when he promised his devotion to her, his fidelity and his obedience for always. All of Creation joined in the melody. The stars twinkled as the gates of Heaven opened at those moments. There was payer in the air as they stood under one chupa. They stood together, he with heart a flutter and full of emotion as he pronounces her hallowed to him. And her luminous and radiant in gown and veil with her heart full of prayer, intense and longing to be his helpmate from now until forever… Two worlds would be joined this evening. The road to everlasting joy is long and arduous but it was taking its first step on this night. The Divine presence was the guest of honor that evening as the glass was broken. Tears flowed abundantly and mingled with the joy, pure and unadulterated. Souls from on high came down to watch these 2 souls joined, to give them their blessings, to guide them in their way, G-d Himself, in all His Glory was there to help them pave their way and send them on their way with blessings of all that is good…
We have spoken about songs and souls so often these last few weeks and this time they were brought together, in great whirling waves of joy and more joy. All our loved ones from above and from down below were with us on that spectacular evening. And they all brought with them joy, joy and more joy. It was resplendent and dazzling, divine and intense. Great waves of happiness and song and love. So free, so open and so accepting and so flowing. Drawing towards its magnet all those around it like a fly to light. We pray that Hashem be as pleased with us as a chatan and kallah are and now i understood what that meant.
We have yet to mention and to elaborate on the idea that the purpose of light is the darkness. Darkness can sometimes be prolonged and intense and confusing and painful. But from within that darkness, Hashem may reach out, stretch out His Hand and switch on the light. Even if only for a few moments. But within that light He reveals just a little of Himself. A little light goes a long way. We hope and pray that the tremendous gift of light that we were given that evening will illuminate our family and our precious community for a very very long time.
And even though that amazing evening was not at all about me, there were so many emotions playing in my heart that evening, that i would like to share them. They were from such opposing ends of the spectrum that i felt my heart would burst. There was love, so much endless love, and there was gratitude to G-d, abundant and overflowing. And to my life’s partner with whom i spent the last 23 years of my life getting to this moment. There was fear and there was faith. There was anticipation and there was hope. There was the feeling of relinquishing all that was, all that we are. And making room for the new and improved. There was the feeling of loss, sharp and painful and there was the feeling of gain. And there was so much more. Promise was in the air that evening. What happens when this mother becomes the mother in law remains to be seen. But i thank G-d with all my heart for giving me the chance to find out.
We have all come to the world to paint a masterpiece, ours is perhaps still in the making but that night, under the canopy of G-d and angels, we may just have taken the first step…
With all my heart, dear friends, that this be the only tears we share from now on. May G-d grant you all such joy for you and your precious children. Until next time, DL