“Those who sow (plant) in sorrow shall reap in a joyful harvest”.
For the past four years I have shed only tears of bitter sorrow. Last night I smiled in joy.
My beloved twenty-year old grandson and his beautiful bride stood under the chuppah in a modern orthodox synagogue with approximately 250 invited guests to join in their happiness.
About 75 of them were fellow students of the groom and bride from their university. Many of them were chasidim and three hours of dancing, loud singing, mystic entertainment were demonstrations of their love for the newly-weds. Several of the students traveled great distances to partake in the simcha.
There were four ultra-orthodox rabbis and five modern orthodox rabbis present, some who participated in the blessings, reading the Aramaic text of the ketuba (the two-thousand year marriage document ) and sharing personal remarks to the bride and groom, accompanied by the m’sader kiddushin (officiaiting rabbi).
The smiling groom, my grandson, placed on the finger of his bride the gold wedding ring which he purchased from me, the wedding ring of my mother from her marriage in 1931. May Rivka, the beautiful bride, be as happy in her marriage as my mother was in hers.
As the newly-married couple walked away from under the chuppah (wedding canopy) escorted by the rabbis on their way to the reception room, I broke out into hysteric crying, drowning in my tears of sorrow. My beloved wife was not with me. She was not blessed to see her grandson and his lovely bride joining in a traditional Jewish wedding, like the one she and I had in Tel-Aviv sixty years ago.
Screaming out her name, angry at the God who took her from me, choking on my tears, my life and my soul were saved only by the comfort of my wonderful rabbi and his wife… the very same two blessed people who comforted me and held me in their arms at 3:45 in the morning when they came to my home immediately after receiving my call informing them of Rahel’s death moments before.
Only now… only yesterday… am I able to understand the truth of King David’s psalm.
“Ha zor’im b’dimah, b’rina yiktsoru”. Those who sow in sorrow shall reap in joy”
Immediately following the rabbinic ceremony which declared Ariel Matityahu Ben-Sorek and Rivka Shoshana Green “chatan v’kala” (husband and wife), the 250 guests paraded into the reception hall to partake for an additional four hours of eating, dancing (separated barrier for men and women), drinking, singing loudly without an end, so loudly that I could not hear my daughters’ voices sitting next to me, more eating, more drinking, more dancing without an end to the harmony of the hundreds of voices singing Hebrew blessings.
Almost seven hours of an orthodox Jewish wedding… a wedding which brought big smiles (and yes….. some tears of gladness), it was time for me to go home with my memories.
King David was correct. Those whose lives have been embittered by great sorrow may live to be blessed with abundant joy. At least, it is a truth for me. A truth for which I thank my God and my beloved rabbi whom God sent to comfort me… in my sorrow and in my happiness.
Now my next request from God is to grant me the blessing of seeing a great-grandchild before my eyes are closed forever.
But God replied to me: “It is not up to Me. It’s only up to your grandson. Go and tell him”.
I am keeping my mouth shut ! (At least for the time being) !!!!!