Ani l’dodi v’dodi li, The Song of Songs, In Celebration, A Wedding in Jerusalem
To my dear Shosh and Josh,
And this shall be your story: A young woman of Jerusalem, from a family of five daughters and no sons, meets a young man of Jerusalem, from a family of five sons and no daughters. They fall in love.
In a very few days you will each recite these words under the chuppah, ani l’dodi v’dodi li, symbolizing your deep love for each other, and your enduring love for Ha’shem. We rejoice with you!
Yours will not be the first of our family weddings in the time of covid. You, as Yoni and Nina, and Chaim and Liat, before you, lead us to the wedding canopy despite the turmoil in the world. You, as they, will demonstrate that love really does conquer all.
Your love is a beautiful commentary on Jewish life and marriage. And the added special dimension of a Jerusalem wedding, is a joyous tribute to the lives and values you have been taught by your parents and the examples of their own beautiful lives together.
There is never a perfect time for a wedding. Therefore, it follows that when a couple belongs together, as do the two of you, that is the optimal time for the wedding. One should not wait until the world is at peace, or the virus has disappeared, or Israel’s right to life is unchallenged. One should not wait for politicians to reconcile their differences. Emphatically not. One should bring exuberant dancing and cries of happiness to all of our lives in celebration of your love. May all of Israel resonate to the sounds of your celebration and may we encircle you in the bonds of our deep joy. Ken Yehi Ratzon!
How remarkable it is that you found each other and that you will build a bayit ne’eman b’Yisrael. You have both been seeking one another on the pathways of the Holy City, and you succeeded, a young man, formerly of South Orange, New Jersey, and a young woman, formerly of Los Angeles, California. I see, in my mind’s eye, the map of the globe and how the stars were in your favor as they twisted and aimed for your hearts. You were destined to meet, not at the halfway point in the United States, between California and New Jersey, which is a place called Piedmont, Oklahoma, but in the center of our Jewish world, the center of our hearts, Jerusalem.
You share so much.
Shosh, you come from a beautiful Ashkenazi/Sephardi marriage that parented those five wonderful daughters.
Josh, you come from a beautiful Ashkenazi marriage that parented those five wonderful sons.
There are no doubt astronomical odds against such family configurations.
But it is the context of those families that has produced the two of you. Your lives have been led by two families of extraordinary Jewish commitment who have modeled for you the path to your lives today and to the beautiful chuppah awaiting your arrival. You are the products of those magnificent homes, and the schools and camps that partnered with them, to teach you diligently. You have learned, and, with God’s help, you shall teach the next generation of those families, that the two of you will create together.
Shosh, as a nurse in Israel, you bring a commitment to excellence in caretaking and generosity of spirit that I see in you constantly, in all of your many dimensions. You are a mensch! I love you dearly, deeply, and sincerely. You epitomize beauty, warmth, and tenderness in a spirited and happy persona. You are blessed with a dry sense of humor. You are fun to be with! I adore the way you gaze at Josh. He is my dear grandson and you are his amazing bashert. I know, many, many years hence, even in old age, you will continue to gaze at him with that abiding love. And you already know what I have known throughout his life, that he is an honorable and genuinely good man, a kind and loving person, a deeply devoted son, brother, uncle, grandson, and soon-to-be husband. In my eyes, as in yours, he is perfection itself.
Josh, my wonderful grandson, you, as all your brothers, have repeatedly brought honor to our family. In Shosh you have found your life’s partner and your chosen and we are all eagerly anticipating your incredible wedding.
A Jerusalem wedding is always exciting and overflows with spectacular energy. Yours will be the third in our family and each has been a celebration of life and Judaism. Lori and Michael, and Pam and Matt, have set the standard but, without a doubt, you will create your own traditions. We can hardly wait!
And so we shall gather, three hundred strong, in the spectacular outdoor gardens of Abu Ghosh. We shall sing, we shall dance, and we shall rejoice at the breaking of the glass. Shosh, you the bride, the kallah, is already beautiful but you shall be adorned with a glow. Josh, you, the groom, the chatan, is already handsome but you too shall be adorned with that glow, an ignition from the depths of your souls that affirms, I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine! Ani l’dodi v’dodi li.
And may your lives be blessed! Mazal tov!