First Sabbath as a married couple, alone in the big house. Silence. First moment of quiet since the wedding. Three weeks have passed.
“You got married during your routine,” my neighbor says to me on Friday when I come to bring her fresh tahini salad that I made. She won’t let me leave before packing up homemade zucchini salad for me to take home. Yes, the wedding was organized while simultaneously preparing for my middle son’s Bar Mitzva party, while starting a new and challenging job at Hever, while cleaning for Passover and while arranging bonding time between Boaz and the kids, and between all of us and his family. So where in all of that do you fit in time to think about the meaning of being a couple, and introspection about the big event in our lives? Well, actually, you don’t really. The truth is that the preparations, both the material and spiritual ones, weren’t sufficient. The practical consequences are easier to calculate – a hundred extra place settings at the wedding because there wasn’t enough time to organize RSVP’s. A seamstress who disappeared a week before the wedding (and good friends who saved the day), and three hundred white, crisp ‘Grace after Meals’ booklets forgotten in the car on the day of the wedding itself…But what about the spiritual preparations? Thankfully, Boaz had an amazingly intense and wise teacher who prepared him, and I was even able to sit down for a quick but meaningful session with a bridal teacher that was like a breath of fresh air. We all know that isn’t enough, but at least we have our entire lives ahead of us.
Seriously though, if it really wasn’t enough, I would have waited another three months with the wedding and tried harder. But if you contemplate the essence of a wedding, we should have had it three months earlier and paid the price. Now I see how important it is to live together, to create together. To feel life at its full intensity.
The event itself was magical! Family and good friends, and the calm atmosphere of a Friday morning. The weather was ideal. The wedding ceremony was exactly the way we wanted it – serene, collective. We stood at the front and expressed what we felt in our hearts, each of us from our own hearts. The friends ascended pair by pair to bless. The groom said the traditional blessing and the bride blessed from the depths of her heart in her own words. The amazing rabbi who accompanied us throughout the entire process gave us space to express ourselves. We both came to this moment with a sense of great depth; we’re not so young anymore and we have a lot to say to the world. There was utter silence during the ceremony. People were really listening. It was moving.
It’s strange getting married at age 38. In the middle of a busy life. Suddenly stopping, disconnecting from my cell phone, going to get my nails painted a milky white and putting on a wedding dress. The night before the wedding, when I came back from the mikvah (ritual bath), the house was clean and organized (very different than how I had left it). My middle son was waiting for me with something to eat and a big hug, despite the late hour. A path of candles and cards awaited me at the entrance to my bedroom, which would soon be our bedroom, as a couple. At times like this, the heart understands that everything is just the way it should be.
On the morning of the wedding, after two and a half hours of sleep, the makeup artist arrived; while everyone is still sleeping, I begin to comprehend that it’s really happening. Slowly, the house begins to stir. It’s pretty funny – a bride on her wedding day with three sweet kids in boxer shorts smiling from ear to ear first thing in the morning. The neighbors and friends begin to arrive with kind words, a nutritious breakfast, delicate decorations for the car and so much emotion welling up in their teary eyes. Boaz sends me a touching email to read on the way, and I have all of the spiritual preparations in need to come to my wedding as a bride.
During the drive to Ein Shemer, Adi takes the wheel while I prepare the envelopes with the payments. It’s an age when your parents aren’t as involved, and there are tons of technical tasks that need to be handled. My children stay with two of the most wonderful girls in our community and will be arriving later. I left them a backpack with letters for each of them. They also wrote letters. They will not be present at the ceremony itself – a special Jewish custom that we discovered during the preparations. We thought about it a lot, together with the children, and there were discussions in various forums at home. It’s not that they don’t love Boaz; in fact, he’s a perfect fit for them! They really complement each other. But a wedding ceremony is something else, a moment for a couple, not a family. The children agree with this decision made by the Jewish sages and spend that time at an ice cream shop, busy with coloring pages. They come back for the dancing, and we all feel as if in a dream. Ecstatic. The time flies by and suddenly, we’re alone. Everyone went home. It’s over. My feet signal to me that I forgot to change into the sandals I brought, and my stomach growls in hunger.
We decided that no one would drive us; we want to save the drive for ourselves. We fill up the car with gas in our wedding clothes, stop to take food from Dad’s house and drive up to the kibbutz where Boaz’s parents live. Once again, we are embraced by family and friends. It’s the happiest Sabbath. Singing, activities, presents, sincere joy during the prayer services that has never been seen before (according to the elders of the kibbutz) – all especially for us. Not to be taken for granted at all. So moving.
The children fit in well. And then that’s it; leftovers are packed up and we drive home. Falling back into a wonderful routine in which each person has their own natural place.
I look at him here next to me and am amazed at how simple life can be when two people look at the world together. When the limits of our logic are shattered and all of the rigid definitions disappear. We waited so many years, during which we searched, gave up, prayed and yearned. And then, on one summer evening, on a rooftop in Tel Aviv, at a political parlor meeting (that I hadn’t actually planned on attending) – we met. Divorced plus three and a single with roommates, 38 year old and 33 year old, bourgeois settler and religious kibbutznik. But at the end, late into the night – we were just two simple people who understood that their world just couldn’t keep going the way it was, and we jumped into the depths with our eyes wide open.
Maybe one day, Boaz will also write about what he’s experiencing. In the meantime, we’re making our statement – if you get rid of your “lists,” someone who is exactly everything you were looking for just might appear!
And now, back to business…