Mazaltov - Marriage Meditations
Our Love Letter
Listen Kallah, can you imagine what kind of love letters Avraham is writing to Sara? I don’t know where they are, you know, but I can give you a little hint. They are written right here on this paper [the Ketubah]. Because this is the love letter that a Jewish man writes to his wife. It is the deepest, deepest, holiest, most exalted, most everlasting, most deepest, deepest, deepest, deepest love in the world. And Chosson, I want you to know that our Holy Rabbis, when they put the words together, it was not just in general, words which will be good and beautiful for all married couples to write to each other. They mamash prophetically saw every Jew who is getting married, and they mamash looked deep into your neshama. And these words of the Ketubah are written from the deepest depths of your soul to the deepest depths of your Kallah’s neshama. And we could never put these holy words together. And of course, it goes without saying, not only the words, but also the letters, have the deepest, deepest Kabalistic meanings in the world, the deepest, most awesome….
And maybe some of you remember: According to our deepest traditions, if you would have good eyes, you can see in the ketubah the names of your children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, everyone, till Mashiach is coming. It’s all written there. I bless you some day to see it. So Mazal Tov.
Speaking Only Good
Listen, Kallah and Chosson, I want to tell you something. Reb Mendele Vorker never spoke. And his son-in-law was just awesome, so, one of the great Rabbis was in his house for two weeks and they asked him, “So, how was it to be in Reb Mendele’s house?” His son-in-law answers, “Do you know how poor he is? He doesn’t have a single penny. Do you know how hard it would be to squeeze out 20,000 rubles from him? But it’s much harder to get one bad word out of him.” Well, anyway, Chosson, we don’t have to worry about you. Kallah, I envy you. Your father is Avraham and your mother is Sara. Gevalt, gevalt. Chosson, do you know what kind of a girl you are marrying? From the most noble, noble, noble, noble father and mother. Mamash, the most noble. And when you look at her, you know that she’s a princess. She is. Kallah, you are a princess of all princesses. There are no two ways about it.
Be Real to Each Other
Now listen to me, Kallah, do you know what your Chosson promises you? That he will work and he will treasure and keep you precious; that he will support you and sustain you like a Jewish man is given the power from Heaven to do. You know, Chosson, it’s not just promises in this book, in this letter here. It’s not only written by you. It’s also written by our holy Rabbis, and they give you the power to do it. I’m sure you feel it. You are suddenly a new man, right? Mamash, do you know what the Socachover says? The moment a person marries a woman, like his soul expands millions of miles, right? Mamash, you are not a private person anymore. You have the power to take care of another neshama, right? And you, Kallah, have the power to take care of his neshama. Unbelievable! But the only thing is, it says “bekushta” [real]. It has to be for real; and I bless you to always be real to each other in the deepest, deepest way.
You know, Chosson, they asked the Alter Rebbe, “What is that, which we call neshama, what is that which we call a soul?” So he says, “That part of me to which Gd is most real.” So I want you to be real to each other. This is the blessing.
OK, let’s keep on singing. I need all the musicians because the ketubah needs all the harmony that there is, because this is the essence of shalom bayit [marital harmony]. So we need harmony.
With Your Bride, You are the Richest
Do you hear me, Chosson? Everything you have is responsible for this marriage. Even the shirt on your back. You know what it means? How do you feel without a shirt? You are the poorest man in the world, right? You know what the Holy Rabbis bless you? That it should be clear to you that, without your Kallah, you are the poorest man in the world. And with her, you are the richest man in the world.
And you know, it says the shirt on your shoulders. I translated incorrectly before. It’s shoulders, not your back, your shoulders. You know, sometimes you think, how can I carry marriage? It’s too heavy. I want you to know, Gd gives you new shoulders.
The Joy of Your Marriage
OK, now comes the most important thing. You know, when you learn something, you say, “I have it at the tips of my fingers,” right? So, you know something? You’ll ask a person, “Are you happy?” And if they have to think for one and a half seconds to answer, it means that they are not so happy, right? We wish for you that the joy of your marriage should be at your finger tips. Mamash, Kallah, we bless you and your Chosson that people should look at you and they shouldn’t even have to ask if you are happy. You should be shining from one corner of the world to the other. But, if they ask you, you say, here is my hand, I can guarantee to you I’m happy. We bless you, you should be able to swear all your life, that you are the happiest couple in the world.
I want to bless you with something more. I want to bless you, that your children should swear by the living Gd, that you are the best parents in the world. I want to bless all the couples here the same thing. All of us.
OK, witnesses, all of you give the handkerchief to me. Lechaim! Everything is accepted and finalized in Heaven. Mazal tov! And now, the witnesses start writing….
The Ketubah Gives You Strength
OK chevra, now let’s get very, very close for the seven holy blessings. Now listen to me, Kallah. I have something very special to tell you. You know, I have never worked for Western Union so far, but now I am working for Gd’s Western Union. I have the most beautiful love letter for you, written by your holiest man in the world, by your soulmate, signed by your best friends in the world, and composed with the highest, deepest prophecy. So we bless you, Kallah, that this ketubah – letter, whenever you look at it, should give you so much strength, so much holiness.
Kallah, you know the world as much as I do, as much as anybody. It’s so hard to be a good wife in this world. And there is a whole world which seems against everything holy and beautiful. We bless you that this parchment here should give you all the vitamins, all the energy you need, until Mashiach is coming, and after, to be the absolutely most, most, most, most loving wife in the world. Mazal tov, Mazal tov.
The Ishbitzer Rebbe says that the greatest, highest, deepest, the most glorious Gd revelation is, when Gd lets you know that He needs you.