On an evolutionary scale, we're
tougher than the boulders of Sinai.
Me and my wife, we love a good
wedding. She says it takes a brit, a
family reunion and a 25th wedding
anniversary to equal the joy of a sin-
gle marriage ceremony.
That's why, last week, we drove
400 miles to a wedding on roads
that didn't sport a single decent deli.
We almost perished.
We lucked out. This wasn't simply
a marriage ceremony. It was a seven-
day extravaganza, rich with the
rewards we out-of-town guests
expect — I mean demand. And why
not. Didn't I spend $20 on gas? Did
I not spend six excruciating hours in
the vocal company of three Barry
Manilow CDs — my wife's favorite
tenor? Find that in our pre-nup!
I vvas promised no Barry Manilow
and lots of kugel when we stood
under the chuppah years ago. Real
kugel with plenty of raisins — not
Mama Manischevitz frozen noodles.
I tried to insert it into the ketzi-
bah. My rabbi, a straight-arrow tra-
Anyhow, at my cousin's wedding, I
was all set for a suitable gustatorial
payoff (maybe a kugel entree!) for
my $20 gas bill, six hours of Barry
and our wedding gift — which we
picked up at a road-side yard sale.
Really a bargain, because contribut-
ing to the gift were several family
members who chose not to make
the trip. ("Are you kidding? You
guys and Barry Manilow for six
hours?! Here, take a fiver for a yard-
sale wedding gift.")
The wedding was not disappointing.
The ceremony and symbolism were
overpowering. They did it all, begin-
ning with the signing of the
ketubah. The ketubah, of course, is
written in antique Aramaic so that
the groom doesn't understand his
commitment to his wife, his in-laws,
and her Uncle Louis, who hasn't
worked steady since he was fired as
a flagman for the State Highway
They did the bedeken, too, the
veiling of the bride. Necessary, says
tradition, so that the groom is not
overwhelmed by the beauty of the
bride. He shouldn't miss the good-
ness of her soul.
With this bride, the veil should
have been of lead; such was her
radiance. And for good measure,
they should have blindfolded the
There was frenzied dancing by the
hungry guests who were magically
transported to Jerusalem, Minsk and
the Lower East Side by an incredible
band from New York. After dinner,
the bride and groom were chaired
around the room clinging to each
other with a white handkerchief.
W y wife says it
takes a brit, a
family reunion and
a 25th wedding
equal the joy of a
why we drove 400
miles to a wedding.
This is a source of much debate
among scholars of Judaica. One
school holds that the handkerchief
symbolizes the physical separation
that must prevail before marriage.
Others, notably the Alte Rebbe
Chaleria in Hotlox, Ala., says that it
signifies the last clean handkerchief,
sock and shirt the young groom will
see until he visits his mama on
Who knows? Me and Mrs.
Manilow stayed two days after the
wedding so as not to miss a single
And why did she blush when I
asked the hostess at the last feed if I
could have a couple of corned beefs
on rye for the road? What a mitzvah
opportunity for the hostess! ri
Ted Roberts is an attorney and free-
lance writer in Huntsville, Ala.
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