Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Wonderful World

Bright blessed days – Dark sacred nights... words from a song apropos for a young couple whose wedding I attended last night. It truly was a wonderful experience to see a beautiful Kala with a beautiful mind, the multi talented Chana marry the ‘choice of her soul’ Heshy.

It was quite an unusual and unique wedding. And that’s what made it so wonderful. The Kala is a product of modern Orthodoxy having graduated Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women. The Chasan is a Shtreimel wearing Chasid who has been accepted to law school. And yet as this excerpt from Chana ‘s prayer written 2 days before her wedding clearly demonstrates, she has found her true soul-mate:

Dear God… I love that You matched us so perfectly well. I love that he comes from a background utterly different from mine, that I can walk new vistas and new worlds with him. I love his stubbornness and pride and commitment to truth. I love that he found me on his own. I love that he loves You.

Chana is truly a tribute to her parents. Two of the most clear thinking, truth seeking people I know… both of whom are quite brilliant and yet very humble – all traits obviously inherited by Chana.

The diversity of this beautiful young couple was reflected in the wedding itself. There were two distinct type of guests in attendance. Family and friends from the Chasan’s side were Chasidic; the men mostly sporting long beards and Peyos - and dressed in Chasidic garb. Family and friends from the Kala’s side were mostly clean shaven, wearing modern clothing - some with Kipot Serugot. Some wore tuxedos as this was a ‘black tie optional’ affair.

The Chasan’s best man was a friend who is clearly a Chasid. He was the first one to walk down the aisle. Other men who walked down the aisle wore either full Chasidic garb or tuxes. All the women that walked down the aisle were fashionably dressed and very Tznius.
Each was independently announced by an MC. Internationally renowned Cantor Benzion Miller, an uncle of the Chasan, sang Baruch HaBah and Mi Bon Siach accompanied by an orchestra and his very talented 2 sons acting as a choir. I have never seen anything like this.
Except for a few tables the seating at the Seudah was mixed.

Chana spoke at the seudah. And as one would expect she was quite brilliant! She used examples from Tanach to show the beauty of diversity - how diverse people can came together to form the closest of relationships. One example Chana mentioned was the friendship of David and Jonathan. Jonathan was royalty. His father was Saul, king of Israel. David was a shepherd. And yet their relationship is used by the sages to define what true love really is.

More diversity was to come. Cantor Miller and his two sons sang ‘Carlebach. That was followed by a Louis Armstrong rendition of ‘What a Wonderful World’ sung by Chana’s uncle.

This wedding was truly a memorable experience for me. I know that I am not alone in saying that. My wish for Chana and Heshy is that they live out their dream and continue to have the feelings for each other that brought them together and made them soul-mates.

May they continue to seek and discover truth. I know that their diverse backgrounds will add immeasurably toward that goal. And may they build a true house in Israel. I know that their combined and strong faith will do the same. And may they both continue to be a source of Nachas to their parents, their family, their friends, and to all of Klal Yisroel.

Finally may the Achdus that the embrace of diversity that this wedding saw be an example to all. That would truly make Judaism - a wonderful world.