KJ Hannah Greenberg

The Wedding

Treating each other well can bring the Shechinah.

Lifetimes pass quickly. Last night, Computer Cowboy and I had the opportunity to be present at the wedding of a lovely kallah from a special family. Whereas we hold all of our friends as precious, we have not, corresponding, known all of our friends’ children for nearly all of their lives. In the case of last night’s chuppah, BH, we have known the kallah since she was knee-high, i.e., since her parents and our family lived across the street from each other in the States.

Whereas I was grateful to see her elderly paternal grandfather and was delighted to hug her aunt (whom I know through a  Zoom Rosh Chodesh group and rarely see in person), and whereas I had much naches seeing all of her brothers and sisters’ smiles and finery, it was the kallah, as was appropriate, who, in my esteem, outshone them all. Yes, I cried and sighed alongside of the bride’s parents, but I primarily treasured the kallah’s radiance.

The chatan, meanwhile, was likewise highly passionate. He telegraphed his emotions to the rest of us. I understand why the kallah, who is the finest of fine, chose to marry this young man; he is in touch with his feelings and clinches his authenticity. He, too, is the finest of the fine.

As for the bride and groom together, if only we could pour their palpable, mutual adoration into bottles and distribute them, we’d be able heal many people. Those two smiled as innocently and as magnanimously as young children, consequently, mending all of the witnesses to their nuptials. Truly, theirs was a Yom Kippor that cleansed not only them but also all of us who joined them on their happy occasion.

Similarly, the chatan’s parents, whom, in the same way, Hubs and I met in the New World, glowed. Their faces glistened with gratitude and reflection’s tenderness. The chatan’s mother spoke of the chatan’s recently departed and much loved grandfather. Just as the ashes placed on the chatan’s head and the glass broken by the chatan represented our imperfect peace, that is, Am Yisrael and the world’s lack of completion as a result of our missing Moshiach and the final Beit HaMikdash, so, too, did the chatan’s mother’s words remind us that lifecycle joy is marred when we are bereft of dear ones.

What’s more, the kallah and chatan’s parents did not compete with each other; they coordinated. For example, when there proved to be insufficient room for the mothers to actualize a minhag under those hung tallisim, the mothers smiled at and embraced each other rather than call each other into question. Further, when the fathers stood near each other, they smiled, cried, and enfolded each other. I think that the relationship of those machatonim will be harmonious.

Beyond the energy ignited by the kallah, chatan, and their parents, there were other, quiet, important releases. For instance, the mesader kiddushin, a very learned and honored rabbi, although articulating his speeches clearly and with sufficient volume, elevated the chuppah for the zug/the couple, not for his own veneration. Plus, his words of welcome to the newly married were sincere and beautiful.

Among the night’s shimmers was the goodness of the attendees. Notwithstanding their complex demographics, they treated each other with extensive kindness. Consider, that despite the fact that the seudah was catered at the highest level of kashrut, no guest was imposed upon to be other than he or she is.

Weigh the invitees’ varying regalia. Some woman wore slacks; others wore dresses. Some wore short sleeves; others wore sleeves to their wrists. Some wore wigs, snoods, or scarves; others were bareheaded. Equally, some men were dressed in IDF uniforms; others in rekels with gartlechim, spots coats, suits, or shirts without jackets. Most of the men’s shirts were of the button-down, white variety; others were colorful or casual. The men’s heads were covered with an array of hats and kippot. It was wonderful to be with Am Yisrael and not among fractious, exclusive clusters.

Not only were the participants inclusive in their communications, dancing, and talk, but they extended themselves beyond civility. It gladdened me to witness, at the few incompletely filled tables, that groups of folks moved toward other groups for unity’s sake, instead of sitting far apart. I believe that the middot of our hosts attracted individuals with corresponding middot.

Additionally, but far less essentially, the venue, a location in the hills of Gush Etzion, was awe-inspiring . Around the chuppah were not only roses and mulberries but, additionally, some of the seven species of Eretz Yisrael, including figs and grapes. Beyond the chuppah were terraced hills filled with more of the same. When the sun set, the pastel luminosity that lit those slopes was definitively painted by HaKodesh Baruch Hu (indeed, many of the visitors whispered about how wonderful it was to commemorate a wedding in the midst of so much of The Abishter’s revealed handiwork.)

My husband and I have merited, Baruch Hashem, b’ayin tova, to attend many sma’achot. Few, though, were as softly wonderful as the one in which partook of last night.

About the Author
KJ Hannah Greenberg has been playing with words for an awfully long time. Initially a rhetoric professor and a National Endowment for the Humanities Scholar, she shed her academic laurels to romp around with a prickle of imaginary hedgehogs. Thereafter, her writing has been nominated once for The Best of the Net in poetry, three times for the Pushcart Prize in Literature for poetry, once for the Pushcart Prize in Literature for fiction, once for the Million Writers Award for fiction, and once for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. To boot, Hannah’s had more than forty books published and has served as an editor for several literary journals.
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