Thursday, June 7, 2007
Fifth Anniversary: Finding the Bashert, Finding Good Fortune
Five years! Sometimes it seems like we have been married all of our lives, and sometimes I feel like we are newlyweds.
We still hold hands like lovers.
We work together like partners.
Our Brit Tena'im (engagement agreement) states:
"Whoever finds the Bashert (the person intended for you) finds good fortune..."
And so it has been.
Some of us find the Bashert early and some, late.
Sometimes, love found late is sweetest.
Five years ago, June 8th, 2002,, Bruce and I signed our Ketubah, our marriage contract.
A Ketubah is a legal document that states specifically what the Chatan (bridegroom) and Kallah (bride) are agreeing to do. We agreed, among other things, to establish a household "in Israel" (meaning among the people Israel--not the the nation-state), and to support and love one another according to the tradition and laws of Moses and Israel.
A Ketubah is also a work of art, scribed by hand, and adorned with art and illumination. Hiddur Mitzvah means to "beautify the commandments." It is a commandment to marry with a Ketubah, and to adorn it according to the personalities of the couple makes it beautiful. Ours is a limited edition called Erev shel Shoshanim, Evening of Roses, that depicts the night sky (Bruce is an amateur astronomer) and roses growing in old Jerusalem (my first career was as a type of botanist).
Five years ago, Bruce and I joined our lives together under the Chuppah, the marriage canopy, surrounded by family and friends.
The Chuppah (the "ch" is a gutteral, like the "ch" in the German "Bach") symbolizes the household that is being created by the marriage of two Jews. It is open on all four sides, to show that the Jewish household is open to hospitality toward all.
Our wedding occured very near to Shavuot, so the greenery in the synagogue was our decoration for it. Since our theme was "Evening of Roses," we had rose petals strewn on the aisle in the synagogue. Not only was it beautiful, but it smelled like roses as we were brought to the Chuppah. I don't remember a whole lot of what was said under the Chuppah, but since there is tradition, I know what occured there. A blessing was said over wine, the symbol of joy. Seven wedding blessings were chanted. Rings were exchanged and we said, each to the other, in Hebrew, "Behold, you are made holy unto me according to the laws of Moses and Israel." Marriage is called "kiddushin" in Hebrew, meaning holiness. Joining together in marriage is a holy act in Judaism; it is the fulfillment of a commandment and the highest calling to which human beings can aspire. It is an act of tikkun olam, repair of the world. I think it is so because the joining of two separate people, who undertake to live together despite their differences is an opportunity for the creation of Shalom, wholeness, blessing and peace.
Our first dance. After we had some time alone together, we joined the celebration of our wedding in progress.
We chose to dance to the Louis Armstrong tune, "Wonderful World." What a wonderful world is made from the blessing of finding the Bashert!
A story: In January of 2001, I went to a family retreat. The theme was "blessings." At one point, in small groups, the adults were asked to ask for and receive a blessing from another. I thought it was pretty schmaltzy, and I was shy about asking. But something overcame my reserve, and I asked for my heart's desire. "Please ask for me the blessing that I might find my life's partner, my Bashert."
Fast forward to May, 2001. Bruce and I, on our seventh date, were driving up to Ojo Caliente to spend the day soaking in the healing waters there.
I asked Bruce, "What is your Hebrew name?" He said, "Baruch ben Leib Hersch haLevi v'Rina. ('A Blessing' the son of Leib Hersch the Levite and Joy). " I definitely heard the sound of the two-by-four swishing through the air! Here was my Bashert, my Blessing that I had asked for!
Sometimes blessings are very powerful. Be warned!
One of "the obligations without measure, the reward of which is without measure," is to "rejoice with bride and groom."
A custom is to show the depth, the "measurelessness" of that rejoicing, is to lift the brude and groom up on chairs as part of the dancing.
Here Bruce and I "dance" together on the chairs, joined in the "handkerchief dance", lifted by friends and family, while others dance the Hora.
The New Shtetl Band and the dancers were singing: "There shall be heard in the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride." (...kol sasson v'kol simcha, kol chatan v'kol kallah!")
The wonderful thing about our wedding was that we enjoyed it so much! We handed over the details to the rabbi, cantor, caterer and the synagogue event planner. And we let go and had a wonderful time. We were the last ones to leave our wedding.
Our marriage has been sweet and tender and good for both of us. We have grown into more love and understanding.
Of course, there are differences between us, from time to time. Both of us can be stubborn and headstrong and intense. Real life brings challenges to all of us! But there is a fundamental basis of love and respect that is different than our previous relationships.
As we sit on our rockers on the porch holding hands, we sometimes turn to one another and say: "Love is truly wasted on the young!"
Five years! Sometimes it seems like we have been together all of our lives. Sometimes we feel like newlyweds.
We have each found the bashert. We have each found good fortune.