Harei at m’kedushes li, the chosson calls out beneath the star-studded sky, and my heart nearly jumps with euphoria. Watching my son place the ring on the kallah’sfinger, motherly pride bursts into a kaleidoscope of vibrant joy, and I truly fear that my heart will dance right off this Jerusalem rooftop.
How many tears were shed to reach this day, I think, and do nothing to restrain the few that now escape into the overflowing vessel that has held it all throughout the long, difficult years. The years when I could not find the slightest bit of light in the dark tunnel. Here I am, looking over the rolling Jerusalem hills all the way to Har HaBayis. My son at the threshold of building his own bayis ne’eman b’yisroel – twenty-eight years of heartbreak and prayers and tears behind me.
The glass shatters beneath my son’s foot, and with that I feel as if the shattered pieces of my heart become whole again.
“Mazal Tov,” my new mechuteineste says as she reaches over to hug me.
“Mazal Tov,” I reply, gratitude swelling in my chest. Hodu L’Hashem ki tov. Thank You Hashem, for these wonderful mechutanim. What a wonderful kallah my son was zoche to. What a wonderful couple they’ll make. Thank You, Hashem.
Accompanied by lively strains of V’yehi bishurin Melech, the new couple is led off the roof to the yichud room. Carefully lifting the hem of my gown, I follow the crowd down the narrow staircase, all the while wondering if I am dreaming.
Is this the son that has kept me awake at night since second grade? Is this the son who has been to more psychologists and educational specialists and evaluations than I can ever remember? Is this the son who spent more time in principals’ offices than in the classroom? Is this the son who received complaints from rebbes and teachers and classmates and siblings? Is this the son who caused the walls of our home to witness tears of aggravation and frustration and unbearable agony? Is this the son who upset the calm in the home and the simchas of family and friends? Can this be the son who is now bringing me more joy than I ever thought I could carry?
It can be. For it is. Chasdei Hashem, it is. Perhaps the excitement is all the greater because of what we’ve been through with him, I tell myself.
This is the boy we’ve never been sure would last the day in school, and then later on in yeshivah, and even later, at a job. This is the son I could never have believed would bring me all the way across the ocean, to my favorite city on earth, for a simcha.
Unbelievable as it is, nowhe has.
The kallah sits at the head table, beaming for all she’s worth. It’s still difficult to believe she now belongs to my son. To our family. This wonderfully sweet, gracious kallah,a real sweetheart, the likes of which I’d never dreamed of having as a daughter-in-law. How absolutely perfect!
The years of shouts and doubts and tears and prayers gave way to hopeless anguish. There wasn’t an avenue we hadn’t pursued, nor a stone left unturned. Our pockets were emptied, and our strength depleted; we’d reached the end of the rope.
The wife of my son’s rosh yeshiva introduces herself to me. “Such a nice shidduch,”she remarks. “The kallah’sfather is a true ben Torah. A talmid chacham. They call him a Shas yid – that’s how well versed he is in the Torah; that’s how they identify him.”