Features Archive

Two Weddings and a Tiyul

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What’s the craziest thing that ever happened to you?  For one bride, I think a safe guess would be having 80 seminary girls crash your wedding…and quadruple the guest list. On our way to Tzfat, we stopped at the kever of Rebbe Meir Baal HaNes, and as we got off the bus, we saw a man waving at us and yelling, “Quick! There’s a wedding! Come!” 

We walked through the building and came out in the back, where we did see a chuppah set up. There was also a woman in a white dress, a man in a white shirt, and about ten other people in a wide variety of clothing. The music hadn’t started yet, and so we stood at the top of the steps, waiting, thinking that maybe they were just setting up. After all, where were all the guests?  But when music started playing, we realized that there simply weren’t any guests, and that this kallah wasn’t going to have anyone to celebrate with. We couldn’t even tell if her parents were there. We all started whispering, and a few girls started walking down the steps, and were quickly followed by ten and then twenty and then fifty more.  We stood next to the chuppah, and we not only watched the kallah walk down the aisle, but we sang with the music, clapped when instructed to by the Mesader Kedushin, and broke out into dancing as soon as the chuppah was over.

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We danced around the kallah and then pulled her into our circle, and we only stopped because our bus drivers were getting impatient, and we had to continue on our tiyul. Before I came to Israel, I had heard from friends and family about the informal feel of Israeli weddings, and how it’s normal for people to crash weddings, but in my opinion, this wedding-crash was anything but ordinary. We got to fulfill the mitzvah of being משמח חתן וכלה, and we turned a small, lifeless wedding into an experience I don’t think we or the kallah will ever forget.  When we got back on the bus, one of the girls announced that she had heard one of the “real” wedding guests whisper to the kallah, “See? You got the wedding of your dreams after all.”  On top of that, it was an incredible opportunity for us as well.  Sure, MMY girls take every opportunity we get to spontaneously sing and dance, but seeing the looks on the chosson’s and kallah’s faces made that round of dancing particularly special.

However, that wasn’t the first time that some of us had the opportunity to bring life to a wedding. Just the night before, Rabbi Berzon’s sister-in-law had gotten married, and he had invited his entire Even HaEzer class to come, for two reasons: to see in practice all of the concepts of chuppah and marriage that we had discussed in class, but more importantly, to bring ruach to the women’s side of the mechitza during dancing. 

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At that wedding, we were the first ones on the dance floor, and the last ones to leave it. We danced our hearts out, and when the band stopped playing, we surrounded the kallah and sang to her. This wedding was definitely bigger than the one at the kever of Rebbe Meir Baal HaNes, but it wasn’t big, and it was clear that having twenty MMY girls there made a big difference in the ruach and in the kallah’s enjoyment of her own wedding.  Having the opportunity to fulfill the mitzvah of being משמח חתן וכלה is something really special, and the mitzvah is even more exceptional when you’re doing it for a chosson and kallah whose names you don’t even know.  At these weddings, it wasn’t about us.  It didn’t matter that we were dressed up for one wedding and in tiyul clothes for the other.  All that mattered was that, at both of them, we were able to create such a level of simcha for these two couples, and to provide them with a gift of simcha that they will hopefully never forget.