30 January 2011

Mazal Tov

It seemed like a regular Chassanah. There were the alta Bubbes and the Bubbes. Mothers of the couple gripping tissues to their noses right in front of me, and the young braided girls crying into their tehillim. The young children were pushing through the legs of everyone to get to where they wanted.

A white mesh mechitzah was between the women and the Chuppah. At the far end of the mechitzah someone lowered it so those ladies could see. But soon a white-knitted kippa-wearing chassid was tacking it back up.

I strained my eyes to peer through the mesh. There was the Kallah, a white mound of silk and satin draped over her. The Chussen was buried in a sea of black, difficult to distinguish through the mesh, one from another.

Omein! The women murmured. Ahmen I added. The next Brocha I actually heard and B"H could answer a true Omein. The glass shattered. But then there were more Brochos, the Ketubah reading, and then the grand
Mazel Tov. Soon the white mesh parted slightly and two women entered our side, beaming. Mazel Tovs, hugs, kisses and hand shakes all around me. Some women were greeting others, happy to see them.

I didn't know either family, it was a friend who invited me to see "something special" at this Chassanah.

Soon the women were entering the hall, through the kitchen door into a large room with many tables modestly set, no music. All the food was homemade. It looked ok, but I didn't want any. After all, I really wasn't invited and didn't feel right to partake. Children running all over, smiling, everyone was happy and full of joy. In place of music, some women were joyously reading with much animation a poem-like set of stanzas, some were bouncing for joy. I guess this was the feminine version of a badchan.

There was genuine joy for the Kallah and for the joining of two young people under the Chuppah and G-d.

This was not an ordinary affair, you see, because the women were covered from the tip of their toes to the top of their heads with layers of clothing, some with veils. Children were wearing the prettiest of capes, dark shades, lace, and maybe taffeta too.

Over on a couple tables you could see a few sheitels. These must be the ladies who lowered the mechitzah in order to actually see the Kedusha. But they knew women are not counted as aidem (witnesses). They were a definite minority. One had a camera and was sneaking pictures now and then. The other women got excited and annoyed, some screeched, and many pulled down their veils, not to be exposed to the flash. They were truly upset. This was a breach of their modesty.

These women were happy to be living according to the dinim (laws) given them by their Rabbis. If you asked, they could recite where it says to do "this" and "that", the Rambam, Chofetz Chaim, Chasam Sofer. I wonder why this is not taught in Beis Yaakov schools?

They genuinely felt they were helping to bring Moshiach. It is their way to counter the loss of modesty and tznius being breached by the outside world. They are very happy living in their inside world. Couldn't help notice that most of our conversation was precisely on this subject.

Who knows, maybe they are contributing to the elevation of Kedusha in the world.

However, I needed some fresh air, and bid my friend a
Mazel Tov, a congratulation, and headed for the door.

The night air was crisp under a sky of stars. Up there I envisioned Hashem looking down, watching his children, wishing them a Mazal Tov Meod, much good success in their endeavors.

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