THE DREAM WEDDING
Dreaming big from a Spiritual Perspective
By Ariella Bracha Waldinger
Who doesn’t love dreaming big? Dreaming is something everyone does. I have heard it said, if you want to connect to the core of your being, you need to be a big dreamer, because dreams fill your soul and connect you to your inner self. Dreaming big doesn’t mean you have your head in the clouds. It means you are striving for a purposeful life and becoming fulfilled in the process. Dreaming big is not about having better toys or more stuff or even more money. It is about having a vision or tapping into an inner need that longs to be fulfilled. Dreaming big opens many doors to endless possibilities, pushes your limits and keeps life fresh and exciting.
Since making Aliyah 11 years ago, my heart, mind and soul have become a fertile “Field of Dreams” and I have become a big dreamer. I perceive that our return to our Divinely-chosen land has activated my deeper inner longings. It is actually cultivating spiritual powers that were dormant within me causing me to dream big for the klal. Thus, residing in the Holy Land became the sacred ingredient that caused this shift in my dream state and enabled deeper spiritual yearnings to become manifest.
What are my dreams about you ask? Doing Mitzvot! Mitzvot are G-ds commandments to the Jewish nation. Mitzvah observance is a G-d-given blueprint for living that allows for continual opportunities to connect to G-d and the Jewish people through deeds and actions thus creating a deeply meaningful life. Since the mitzvot are an integral part of the essential nature of the Jewish people, they become an intimate part of their lifestyle. Residing in Israel provides more opportunities to do more mitzvot which fosters deeper relationships and connections both to G-d and our fellow Jew. It also builds up our nation, making G-ds name greater in the world. That excites me in a big way! In truth, I have become captivated, utterly enthralled by the smorgasbord of mitzvot available to each and every Jew living in our sovereign homeland.
Judaism teaches that nothing is really ours, it is just on loan to us from G-d for us to share and utilize in a holy way. As a result of comprehending this teaching and dreaming big to help our fellow Jews, my husband and I talked about how joyous it would be to host a wedding at our home. A Jewish wedding is much more than a social gathering or event. Torah defines marriage as “Kiddushin” which translates to sanctification or dedication. This indicates the depth of the religious Jewish wedding as a spiritual bonding, a holy union of two bodies becoming one soul and becoming dedicated to the fulfillment of G-ds mitzvot. The ceremony takes place under a chuppah (a canopy). It is officiated by a Rabbi, and two witnesses are required. A special marriage contract—ketubah—is given to the bride along with a ring. Seven powerful and special blessings are recited, ending with a glass being stepped on and broken by the groom to represent the loss and destruction of our Holy Temple thousands of years ago. Little did we know that G-d would fulfill our dream and give us the opportunity to host “THE DREAM WEDDING” between two SPECIAL adults held Sunday, October 19th at 4pm at our home. The precious couple met in April, through an epic story of divine providence.
The wedding day arrived looking like one of those autumn days when the uncertainty of the weather can dampen the excitement of any event, if one allows it. We were planning an outdoor wedding to take advantage of the stunning view and airy atmosphere. Yet, the weather forecast predicted extensive rain showers throughout the day with dark clouds covering our stunning view. We consulted the parents of the groom, who stated that the wedding would be outside as long as it did not rain. We proceeded with joy and unbounded excitement to prepare our home for the “DREAM MITZVAH!”
It was truly a community wedding as friends of the family came to help set up, serve and clean. A dear friend made the beautiful wedding cake and family friends from the band Simply Tzfat came to play. The weather held with sunlight showing its face at various times throughout the day. We all felt a miracle in the making as the weather seemed to defy the official reports. Guests began to arrive and the band set up and began to play beautiful strains of Jewish melodies. People sat outside savoring both the music and the view, along with the exquisite joy of the upcoming marriage. The bride’s family resides in Australia and had never been to Israel which made the wedding in Israel extra special. They delighted in the specialness of the Tzfat community, who came together to honor and bless the couple and family.
The father and the groom arrived first with joy exuding from every pore. Ari the groom, standing 6 feet tall, looked very handsome in his suit and tie and bore the aura of innocence, playfulness and eager anticipation. The petite 4 foot 8 inch bride from Australia, arrived soon after, looking lovely in her cream dress and short veil escorted by her husband’s married brother and sister-in-law who are a downs-syndrome couple. Sarah, the bride had an aura of joy, innocence and shyness about her and yet she brought sunlight to all with her beaming smile and joyful, easy laughter. The entire family and guests happily enjoyed the pre-wedding festivities, as people greeted the family and shared blessings.
The chuppah time was fast approaching and the weather quickly switched to gusting winds and clouds within minutes of the arrival of the Rabbi scheduled to lead the ceremony. A quick decision was made by the parents to hold the wedding inside. There was no time for disappointment to register, as the main reason for the gathering took place. Nestled in our cozy living room measuring 33 feet length and 22 feet width was a 5 piece band, the couple, the chuppah, the Rabbi, the parents and approximately 85 guests.
After each special wedding blessing, the band played joyous, soulful music which added sweetness and depth to the wedding. The atmosphere was festive, intimate and moving. Tears were abundantly shed as we stood in awe of G-ds kindness in bringing the couple together from across continents. As the ceremony was nearing its end and the groom smashed the glass, the bride tenderly lifted her hands to rest on the face of the groom. He in turn bent down and tenderly kissed the bride. The scene was one of such pure innocence, delight and love, that another session of tear shedding occurred. The Rabbi then proceeded to wrap the couple in the Tallit, the prayer shawl, to have a kiss in private. It was so touching to see the depth of understanding of the Rabbi to perceive their need at that moment.
Afterwards, the band played beautiful Jewish wedding music and the dancing began. The bride was quickly surrounded by a circle of dancing holy women smiling from ear to ear, each one taking turns to dance with the bride and bask in her presence. She radiated joy and light. I stood in the distance gazing at the sight getting teary eyed at the abundance of goodness and joy flowing through our home. The groom was surrounded by holy men sharing in his joy and good fortune. Dancing is actually the best part of the wedding after the ceremony of course. It is customary for the guests to dance in order to bring joy to the couple. It is a very important part of the celebration and everyone looks forward to it. The dancing for our Special couple was especially gleeful and energetic and created an amazing bonding experience. The dancing went on for what seemed like hours as the unquenchable joy of the energetic couple could not be contained. In the end, the couple entertained us more than we entertained them and it was sheer delight.
And so it was, all the dreams of those present merged and our house became a receptacle for enormous spiritual and physical blessings. Our dreams of sharing what G-d has given us were brought into fruition to celebrate “THE DREAM WEDDING.” Rav Kook states that only in the Holy Land can the national life of the Chosen people be totally uplifted to G-d. I believe this to be completely real as I am a constant witness to its truth.
My dear friends, if you have not come home, you are missing out on too many mitzvot and dreams. For those of you who are home don’t forget to share all your gifts, talents and possessions with your nation and see what surprises await you. You will not be disappointed, I can assure you. Ariella Bracha