Last week’s Stretch of the Week: Invite a guest this week and actively work on taking pleasure in serving them.
Please allow ONE person to share her experience with this exercise for ONE minute.
Gladdening a Bride and Groom
(Simchas Chosson V’Kalla)
Judaism teaches us the obligations toward a bride and groom, which include escorting the bride to the marriage canopy making the couple happy, and providing them with their needs. These are acts of kindness that we should make every effort to fulfill. By carrying out our obligations in this regard, we also fulfill the mitzvah of loving our fellow Jew.
When it comes to this mitzvah, no one should be inhibited by a concern that it is not fitting for him to accompany a simpler person to the marriage canopy. People should never consider such efforts as being beneath them, and they should make an effort to arrange matches between people, and to bring joy to newly married couples.
The mitzvah of bringing joy to the bride and groom can be fulfilled by facilitating the wedding ceremony, saying one of the blessings under the marriage canopy or following grace after meals, entertaining the new couple, etc. A person may fulfill the mitzvah simply by his presence at the wedding. The same can be said of someone who comes from afar and makes an unusual effort to attend the wedding.
(Excerpts from The Code of Jewish Conduct by Rabbi Yitzchok Silver)
Although I’m quite active and still have some degree of youthfulness left in me, I definitely see myself winding down. I used to be able to stay up late into the night cooking and arranging to do errands for others but now I have scaled back these efforts significantly.
This was until I met Kayla. The first time I saw her was on a bus in Jerusalem. She sat next to a young woman and spoke with her animatedly. I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation. It seemed that Kayla had never met the young lady before but they quickly got acquainted when she learned that the woman was single and they began discussing ideas for potential matches. “That’s impressive” I thought to myself. “She wastes no time with small talk”.
The second time I saw Kayla was at a wedding of a mutual friend. Lately, I viewed my primary function at weddings as follows, arrive, wish a mazel tov and enjoy a nice evening out. Kayla, despite her age, seemed to have quite a different focus, a more appropriate one. As the music would begin and all the guests would rise to greet the new couple, she was right there in front, awaiting to fulfill any need of the bride and her family members.
At a recent wedding of two young people who had recently become more observant, I witnessed Kayla calmly and politely escort the guests and relatives (who were not familiar with the customs of a religious wedding) into the dancing circle. I had to ask Kayla how she had the courage and energy. Kayla said, “I am blessed with an outgoing personality and a lot of physical strength but this isn’t what keeps me going. I waited a long time to find my spouse. Sometimes I thought I would totally lose my mind, but I was able to remain calm by remembering that there was a master plan. I took on many pledges hoping that I would merit tofind my husband. One of those pledges, despite the fact that I was single, was to commit to being present for all brides at their weddings. Whether it was dancing for them, bringing them drinks, or taking care of their families, I declared that I would make this my mitzvah. After many years, I did get married to a wonderful man but I never want to forget the promise I made. Is it easier to sit back, relax, and enjoy a night out with friends? Absolutely--but it’s not the purpose of the evening.”
Although Kayla admitted she was blessed with a lot of energy, she taught me that the least I could do was to focus on the mitzvah at hand. No longer do I attend a wedding and talk my way through the ceremony and dancing. I try my best to remember that I am at this wedding for a reason, to fulfill a mitzvah and help make the bride feel like a queen.
Discussion Question Options:
In which ways, can we improve our performance of the mitzvah of bringing joy to the bride and groom?
What stops people from being more proactive in helping others with finding a suitable mate?
Aside from helping people to find their spouses, how can we be more sensitive to their needs?
Stretch of the Week:
This week, call someone about an idea for a potential match to assist a single person in your community.