Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

10 Shevat 5759 - Jan. 27, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly

















Home and Family
by Rifca Goldberg

I cried. Doesn't everyone cry at weddings? Chana, so tall and thin in her new gown. And the veil that I lent her. The veil that I wore twenty-two years ago. It matched the color of her gown perfectly.

In the apartment, Chana's sister prodded, "Hurry! hurry!" I replied, "A Queen doesn't rush. A Queen walks slowly, with dignity." I was rewarded with Chana's queenly smile. Within half an hour, I was walking Chana from the car into the well- lit hall, our arms intertwined. "Where are we going?' she joked dreamily. "Downtown? To the supermarket?" I grinned at her. "To the Beis Hamikdosh! Every mitzva brings the Beis Hamikdosh closer, and marriage is a major mitzva." She nodded and closed her eyes for a moment. "To the Beis Hamikdosh," she echoed. She smiled ethereally and floated to the flower-decked chair.

She sat regally, fervently murmuring Tehillim, praying for the names on the list she held in her trembling hand, preparing herself, through a giving of herself, for a continued life of giving, whose new beginning would peak in a precious, treasured moment shortly to take place under the chupa.

It was the smallest wedding I had ever been to. A dozen elegant women, two dozen distinguished men. Chana and her chosson were the same age, his birthday three days before hers. She told me that she had chosen his birthday for the wedding as her way of saying how happy she was that he had been born.

There were tears and smiles as the chosson came to gently cover Chana's face with the veil, my veil. I saw under the chupa as I had never seen before. Spacious, uncrowded. A select audience only. After watching the chosson shatter the glass, it was as if I could see the Shechina tenderly gathering up all the glittering pieces and creating something whole, making them whole -- together.

The mazel tovs reverberated, with more tears and more smiles, throughout the festive room, and the rest of the short evening was filled with singing, laughter and foot tapping. I stayed with Chana until a few others and I had finished cleaning up. As I walked home, I felt refreshed, rejuvenated.

On Shabbos, she showed me the gleaming emerald ring that surrounded the loose, wrinkled skin on her thin finger. "My chosson gave it to me for my birthday," she confided shyly, joy radiating from her face. "For my seventy-second birthday."

"Such a beautiful ring," I whispered, and turned away so that she wouldn't see how very touched I was by the tenderness in her eyes, how very privileged I felt at being involved, included at close range, with this special shidduch. And then I spotted the hooks at the other side of the small, tidy living room. My faded off-white veil and Chana's recently donned cream-and-gold gown, side by side, like vintage loving newlyweds.


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