A little while ago I went to a wedding – the first one that I have been to since my own. I am not quite sure when the chuppah was called for, but my wife told me to be ready by seven.
When six forty-five came around, and I was just starting to do the shaving thing while at the same time deciding what to wear. This was really my wife’s chasuna – it was a friend of hers that was getting married – and I figured that there wouldn’t really be anyone there that I knew, so why wear that fancy tie that I got as a chasuna present? After ‘handleing’ whether I should wear my Shabbos suit or the suit that I wore for my own chasuna, I proceeded to shine my shoes – my weekday ones, mind you.
It was seven fifteen when we actually got to the hall. My wife immediately made her way to where the kallah was and started schmoozing with friends. So there I was, standing in the middle of this big, fancy hall, quite unsure of what to do with myself. Well, at least they had food – good food at that (they did use the same caterer as I had by my wedding – so at least I know that the food by my wedding [of which I ate none, save for a pickle and some potatoes afterwards] was at least half decent).
I then made my way over to the chassan’s tisch where there were a few people gathered around. The chassan was a shtickel aloof – in a good way – sort of looking around with a very smiley, spaced out expression on his face (now that I think of it, I probably didn’t look too much different when I was in the same shoes). It turns out that my chavrusa is good friends with the chassan, but since he is now in Eretz Yisroel, I decided that the least that I could do, since I was there already, was to be mesameach chassan v’kallah in my chavrusa’s place.
So still not knowing anyone there, I went through all the motions – smiling (I have a good dentist), singing (oh, so that’s why the windows shattered), and clapping (that explains the looks that the drummer was giving me – oh, wait, there was no drummer) along with everyone else.
The chuppah was very, very laid back (I would even venture as far as to call it ‘chilled’ as they say), with the chassan looking around, smiling, and waving to people – it looked like he was having a ball. It was mamish beautiful – the atmosphere was so serene as everyone walked down the aisle.
As the newlywed couple walked into the yichud room, I felt a little bad – there did not seem to be too much of a ‘chevra’ there. It was not like there were not so many guests – it was a big hall with lots of tables.
Just before the meal started, I saw my wife – the first familiar face that I had seen in a while – and she told me that it was the same on the ladies side. Until that point, even though I was going through the motions, I wasn’t really putting all of my koiach into it, for the simple reason that I had kimat no kesher to anyone there. I decided then and there that I would put myself into anyway – dance my kishkes out – and asked my wife to do the same. I could just imagine what my wedding would have been like (B”H, while not too many people came to my wedding – the ones who did come really came – it’s the quality, not the quantity that matters) had not so many people been into it – how much I would have appreciated it if someone who I bechlal did not know would have come and danced with all his koiach.
Anyway, I was about to seat myself at the bachur table when I realized that I was no longer a bachur – I had a place card just for me – it even said ‘Rabbi’ in the title (I keep on forgetting that everyone in Lakewood automatically gets simcha when they get married). I was to sit at table number 34, which I quickly located, because it was the only table that was empty, save for one person. So there I was, sitting at this table with one other guy – the only reason that he was there was because his wife had schlepped him – he was doing everything short of counting down the minutes until the end of the first dance, which led me to look at my watch, for I had made up to leave with my wife at 10ish, and it was already a quarter two and the first dance had not even begun. I would have taken photos of the gedolim who were there, were in not for the fact that I did not have my camera on me (yes, that’s right – I did not have it – my wife talked me into leaving it behind and actually enjoying myself for once – not that I don’t when I do have my camera, but you know what I mean.)
A little while later, the choson and kallah were introduced and came running out to their respective sides of the mechitza, though there was a noticeable lack of pomp. It seemed like a lot of the guests had no interest in being there, and out of the ones who did, few of them were getting in to it. It would be to harsh to say that it hurt me to see what was happening, because the chassan seemed very happy – and that is really what mattered. It simply bothered me how people were just dancing, almost lamely, around in the circle a few time just to be yotzei, and then leaving the dance floor to talk on their mobile phone, play with their blackberries or whatnots, or stam sit there and schmooze.
I can understand it if there is a Rav or talmid chacham present who is not capable of dancing so hard who sits down to learn a bit – but to sit there with all that simcha in the air and not get caught up in it? That I do not understand. Anyway, after the first dance, I headed out to complete the seemingly impossible task of extricating my wife from the other side of the mechitza. Be that as it may, my wife and I ended up leaving half an hour later than we planned to, soaked body and soul with pure simcha.
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