What? Another letter already?
SO much happened in the last week that the letter is sort of oozing out of my pores and on to the computer. I have been telling you about Ayelet’s wedding in the last couple of letters. It took place two nights ago. Here is what she has to say about being married:
What is marriage? Marriage is the unification of two souls becoming one. On May 29th, 2018, I got married. So, what changed? In which way am I different today than I was the day before I got married? My husband and I spent seven days prior to our wedding not seeing or speaking to one another, for reasons that our sages say are beneficial to our own well-being as well as to each other as a couple. The first time we saw each other after those seven days, I was wearing a white wedding gown, and he was dressed to the nines.
It was at our bedekin when we locked eyes for the first time, and at that moment everything and everyone around us disappeared. It became clear to me at that very moment that Hashem began his spiritual surgery on us. We were transitioning from two individual adults who, for the most part, only had to be responsible for ourselves, to the most beautiful entanglement and unification of two grown adults who would no longer show up in the world as a “single” individual.
When I stepped up to the chupa I circled around my chatan seven times, symbolizing (both physically and spiritually) the wall of protection I’d be building around my husband for the rest of our lives together.
There is a level of deveikut (spiritual connection to Hashem) present the night of your wedding that is indescribable. Once guests arrive to the wedding venue I am seated on the kiseh kallah (bride’s chair), which was decorated in big white parasols and dreamcatchers, draped over by trees that have begun to bear fruit. One by one my female guests approach me to receive a bracha (blessing) because it is known that on her wedding day the schechina rests upon a kallah and makes her ability to channel Hashem’s brachot so much stronger. I wish I could recall the words that came out of my mouth, but it was as though time and space were non-existent and all that was present was me with an open channel to Hashem’s overflowing chesed running through me.
Let’s fast forward to the dancing! After a full day of fasting, it felt like I floated onto the dance floor and was given an energy boost of 1000x the amount of energy I normally have after Yom Kippur. For those hours of dancing, I felt like I was taken back to the time of Miriam leading the women with their tambourines in song and dance, so Geula-dik!
The wedding was coming to a close and it was time for Birkat Hamazon (benching). Friends of ours pulled out their guitars and drums and all Jews from all backgrounds came together in beautiful song and praise of Hakadosh Baruch Hu. And then the clock struck 12:00 and it was all over. It was the end of the most magical night of my life, which marked the beginning of forever with my husband, my soulmate.
After one week of marriage I can’t claim to be an expert on marriage, but what I can say with confidence is that this entanglement of two neshamas is so worth it, for better and for worse. It’s not going to be easy, heck, I don’t expect to grow from “easy”, but I found the person who I am willing to go through this adventure called life with, Baruch Hashem.
Some of you are married. The vast majority of you have attended frum weddings and have been there and done that at least as much as you can from the outside. The uniqueness of Ayelet’s wedding is that it happened at all. In a world in which assimilation is no longer shocking, and marriage is no longer an assumption, Ayelet’s journey is even more beautiful and meaningful than her letter can convey. She sees the most important day of her life through her own eyes. When you step back you can see it as part of the continuum of our history, peoplehood, and eternity. Neve is the best place in the world to work in. The girls come and go. What they share is that they are all there to learn and to move beyond where they are today. They are open to tomorrow and the next day.
There is one exception to my “neve is heaven” rule. It’s called Bnos Avigail.
Our graduation took place Monday night. The high drama of Ayelet’s wedding was absent (although 57 18-year olds who have become almost like sisters over the year do have a rather dramatic way of saying goodbye. You could have mopped the floor with the tears). In place of the high drama was a kind of purity and sincerity mixed with willingness to move on and to take life as it is with the kind of simchah that you can only integrate when you love and trust Hashem. They are everything you think of when you say Bas Yisrael without the cynicism that so many people (sometimes understandably) attach to what should be the highest compliment. I miss them already, and many of them are still here!
One of the areas that Ayelet and her Neve sisters share with my Bnos Avigail daughters is that Eretz Yisrael always has the power to awaken something deep inside you that you may not have noticed. My daughter Dvora (Glicksman) organized a walking tour of the Old City on Friday morning June 29. I will be there and speak and so will Rabbanit Yamima Mizrachi. It will end with brunch and davening together at the Kotel. To find out details call Dvora at 08 9743013. If it’s easier you can email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking forward to hearing about more simchas, and BEH the simchah of us all being together again in Eretz Yisrael.