The Honeymooners

Finally. The long-awaited marriage between my 20 year-old orthodox grandson and his 21 year-old orthodox bride is over. Away from the chuppah and the sheva brachot tables where they are invited guests to the homes of good friends for the seven nights of feasting. Now the honeymoon begins.

I suggested a Havana honeymoon. After all, Cuba is a paradise …one filled with solitude for newly-weds with little to disturb them. They can be picked up in a 1952 Oldsmobile kept in perfect condition by its protective smiling Cuban driver.

Food for an orthodox Jewish couple is not a problem in Cuba. Fruits and vegetables are in abundance. So is the rum.

There is one synagogue in Havana although it is one without a rabbi. But it’s not a big problem. My orthodox grandson can conduct a daily service in Hebrew with at least one of his eyes closed.

Although his father went to medical school in Mexico, my grandson does not speak Spanish.

No problem. They decided not to honeymoon in Havana.

Instead he and his lovely bride opted for Montreal in the French-speaking province of Quebec. All the better. His mother is from Casablanca, Morocco and French is her mother-tongue. So he can get by on plenty of oui’s and non’s and merci’s.

Unlike hot Havana, Canada’s frigid French province covered in snow and slippery ice is a better choice for orthodox Jews. There are many kosher restaurants and several orthodox synagogues. Long beards and short beards, black hats and knitted kippot. Montreal is a good choice for an orthodox young couple on their honeymoon.

I think back to the days of my honeymoon. My new bride and I flew down from Tel-Aviv to a place known then familiarly as Um-Rashrash, soon to be best known by its Hebrew name Eilat on the Red Sea.

There were no luxury hotels on the shore of Eilat in those days but there were several attractive guest-houses and we found ourselves in one, close enough to put our toes in the waters of the Red Sea.

I still cannot imagine why Eilat was chosen for our honeymoon destination other than it was a wedding gift from my bride’s brother. Sheer quiet and boredom.

Nothing but the sandy beach and a few falafel stands. I don’t remember seeing a restaurant. Our meals were taken in the guest-house.

But in the quiet and solitude… we were the only guests in the guest-house… my beautiful bride and I got to know lots of lovely and interesting things about one another and our families, things we remembered for the rest of our married lives.

I don’t know who invented the word “honeymoon” which for us was “yerach ha dvash”. I cannot recall ever eating honey or staring at the moon. But when all was said and done, our brief stay in Eilat was bright and sweet.

I still think a honeymoon in Havana would have been a better choice for my grandson Ariel and his new wife Rivka (Rebecca as she prefers). Cuba is a large island with many interesting cities and villages. In the Cuban sunshine one can walk along the sea shore stripping off layers of clothing whereas in Montreal one would have to be bundled up in several layers of clothing. And isn’t there something to be said for a honeymoon where one can strip down rather than bundling up ?

The funniest thing about 20 year olds is that you cannot tell them anything. They know it all.

Nothing at all new. Don’t we all?

Anyhow… happy honeymooning to the newly married couple wherever they may choose to go.

Maybe I’ll become a great-grandfather sooner than they have planned !!!

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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