Monday, May 31, 2010

And this is what I said.........

At least it’s as faithful a reproduction as I can put together; I invariably speak without a script or a teleprompter (unlike certain people I won’t mention). But as best as I can remember, this is what I said.
“Let’s begin with the obvious. Welcome, and thank you for coming from several continents to share our simcha. Thank you on behalf of my wife Barbara and myself as well as Sara and Tibor Berkovitz.
“Shortly after Tina told us that she and David were going to get married, she asked me to say a few words at their wedding. No problem. It was a long way off so I would have plenty of time to prepare something. And now, it’s the twinkling of an eye later, and here we are, and here I am, and I have to stop thinking about what to say and actually say something. So I have a few thoughts I’d like to share with you.
“Invariably, when there’s a wedding, what’s the one question that people ask? How did the couple meet? So Barbara would explain that Tina and David met at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Oh!? But sometimes a story begets another story, and an answer begets another question. What do you mean they met at Rutgers? Was it that simple?
“Consider that Tina, our beautiful bride {applause} was born in Odessa and came to Brooklyn with her family when she was eight, and because of some unfortunate circumstances came to live in New Jersey with people with whom she had no previous connection four years later. And David, our handsome groom {more applause}, what about him? Well, he was born in Romania. His family came to The States from Romania? No, they went first to Israel. Oh, they went to The States from Israel? No, they left Israel and went to Paris. And then they came to The States? No, then they went off to South Africa. We’re running out of countries. Then they went to The States? Then they went to The States. Did they also go to Brooklyn first? As far as I know, they didn’t go to Brooklyn. They went right to New Jersey. Anyway, it’s not so obvious that Tina and David would meet. If you wish to consider this an act of Divine Providence, you are free to do so, and I will not dissuade you from that.
“There is something else which is not so simple. Barbara and I are of an older generation, which I define as being born before there was a State of Israel. For how long when we talked about building a bayit ne’eman b’ Yisrael, did we mean it in a general sense, creating a home among the Jewish people. It certainly did not mean ‘in Israel.’ How many generations of Jewish men and women could not get married at kibbutz Netser Sereni near Tel Aviv. The closest they came was when the groom broke the glass (which David did so well; it took me five times when I got married) which is supposed to remind us that the first Temple was destroyed, the second beit hamikdash was destroyed, and the third one has not yet been rebuilt.
“But I have a more immediate explanation. Sometimes our path seems strewn with broken glass. Jagged edges and broken glass. Not only that, sometimes we are the ones breaking the glass – at the most inopportune moments when everything is going well. Perhaps this is just a cautionary warning to newly married couples.
“There is perhaps one possible remedy for this problem. Looking around tonight – and this is true at most weddings – I see happy faces, good will, best wishes. Imagine of you could save that feeling; let’s say you could smush it all into an aerosol can. You can call it ‘Wedding Cheer.’ And any time the couple was facing the jagged edges, the broken glass, they could just do a spritz, and the room would be filled with good old ‘wedding cheer.’ Simple.
“Of course, there is no such spray can available. And maybe those are the tasks for this generation: to rebuild the Third Temple and to create the Wedding Cheer spray can. So Tina and David, you’re on your own; you’ll have to create the wedding cheer on your own. And I have full confidence that you will. Because I think you have stumbled onto the secret.
“Generally speaking, couples getting married are in love. But that first blush of love can fade faster than the flowers that are usually grace the tables at a wedding (note: David and Tina used small potted plants; a lot cheaper.) You also have to like each other. You have to be willing to invest the time and energy into caring for each other, nurturing each other, helping each other reach their potential. And I think you will do that.
“I have this vision. You see that gentleman over there taking pictures (pointing to the official photographer). Someday years from now, but it will be in the twinkling of an eye, a young person will be looking at one of the photographs from this wedding – it may be in an album or on a wall – and will say: ‘You see that couple. Those are my grandparents. Or those are my great-grandparents.’ No pressure! ‘They look much older now, but they are still the same loving couple as they were then. I hope that someday when I get married, we will be as nice as couple as they are.’
“I have one more thought. When I finally got married, and later when my brother finally got married, and we would all be together with my mother, she would look at Barbara and my brother’s wife Abby, and she would say: ‘I don’t have two daughters-in-law, I have two daughters.’ And she considered Barbara and Abby to be her daughters, and you weren’t going to convince her otherwise. So I say, if it was good enough for my mother, it’s good enough for me. So I say, we don’t have a son-in-law, we have a son. And we hope we have your permission, Sara and Tibor, to share David with you. And because I believe in fair play, you have our permission to consider Tina to be your daughter.
“With that I will conclude. But I have one question: does it get any better than this? If it does, let me know where.”

1 comment:

Alissa said...

Mazal tov! What a lovely speech.