Weekly Chasidic Story #1198 (s5781-10
/ 7Kislev 5781 /Nov.23, 2020) This week
For some, meeting their life-partner is like encountering
a long-lost friend, and marriage like slipping on a pair of comfortable houseshoes.
There are those, however, who have to drag themselves to the chupahtheir
cold feet weighing them down like icebergs.
Connection: Weekly Reading (Talk
about wedding hardships!)
Story in PDF
format for more convenient printing.
from "Meeting Elijah"
by Eliezer Shore
My wedding day-the
happiest day of my life, my long awaited dream come true, the blessing for which
I prayed daily
At least, that is what it was supposed
Some people get married amid fanfare and grand excitement, with
all the thunder and lightning of Mount Sinai. For others, meeting their life-partner
is more like encountering a long-lost friend, and marriage like slipping on a
pair of comfortable house shoes.
There are those, however, who fairly have
to drag themselves to the chupah-their cold feet weighing them down like
icebergs. On the verse, "God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the
prisoners b'koshorot" (Psalms 68:7), Chazal comment, "Some
people marry in bechi (tears) and some people marry in shir (song)"
(Bereishis Rabbah 68:4). Sadly, I was among the former.
After ten frustrating
years on the shiduch scene, having spoken to dozens of matchmakers, dated
hundreds of girls and shed a thousand tears, I finally met the woman who was going
to be my wife. We went out a total of seven times before becoming engaged, and
a mere three months later, I was already donning my wedding suit and preparing
for the ceremony.
My bride was excited, my friends overjoyed, and my parents
relieved. Only I was terrified.
Looking back now, almost two decades later,
I can admit that marriage had been for me a terrifying prospect-one that became
exponentially worse the older I grew. I was thirty-seven at the time, and all
those years of hopeless dating had taken their toll on me, filling me with doubts
and fears: Is she the right one? Am I making a mistake? Should I wait for someone
But, as I said, at that moment, straightening my tie and dusting
off my new hat, these questions were no longer relevant. The wedding day was now
upon us and it was far too late to back out (though the thought had crossed my
mind). I recalled a famous quote, "Send not to know for whom the wedding
bell tolls-it tolls for thee."
To make matters worse, I was alone
in my doubts, with no one to share my fears but G-d Himself, to whom I turned
in constant, heartfelt prayers.
I spent the day of my wedding rushing around
Jerusalem on last minute errands, praying Mincha at the Kotel, immersing
in a mikvah.
My good friend Simcha accompanied me through all this.
As my shomer ('protector'), I suspect that he saw his job more as preventing
me from running away than getting me to the chupah safely.
time we finished all the errands it was already late, and the time to set out
for the hall had slipped past. I quickly changed into my wedding suit at Simcha's
house, near the Bar-Ilan intersection in north Jerusalem, and prepared to set
out for our destination: the wedding hall at the Diplomat Hotel in Talpiot-about
a half-hour drive away. It was at that moment that Simcha dropped an unexpected
"Meir," he said, "We're running very late. Your chupah
is scheduled for an hour. I'm afraid that if I drive you there, then drive back
here to pick up my family, and then drive to Talpiot again, I'll miss the chupah.
I know it's not so nice, but would you be willing to take a taxi there?"
"A taxi!?" my mind screamed. "No! No!" After waiting
so many years to get married, after suffering so much doubt and turmoil during
the engagement period, after finally overcoming it all, at the very least, I wanted
to travel to my wedding with a good friend.
But instead, I graciously replied,
"Of course, Simcha, no problem
" for what else could I say? And
so, we called the Bar-Ilan Taxi service and gave them the address. "Five
minutes," they replied.
And so, five minutes passed
and another five minutes
"This is ridiculous!"
I declared. "I'm going to be really late! This isn't fair!"
last, we heard the horn of the taxi outside in the street. I bid Simcha farewell
and ran down to the waiting cab. I sat down in the back seat and gave the driver
the address. "The Diplomat Hotel in Talpiot," I told him.
I don't want to go there."
"WHAT!!?" I responded.
heard me. This is my last call of the day, and I live around here. I don't want
to drive to Talpiot."
I was almost speechless.
ordered the taxi. I told them the destination!"
"Listen," I said, trying to appeal to his Jewish
sensitivities. "I'm a chatan and I'm late for my own chupah.
Surely, you would take me to that."
"No," he replied. "I'm
not interested. You can get out of the cab!"
By now I was livid. "Is
this how you treat a customer!? Is this how you treat a chatan!? What type
of a Jew are you!?" I yelled at him, and stormed out of the cab.
rushed back to Simcha's house. "Simcha! The taxi driver didn't want to take
me. There isn't time to order another one. I'm running out to the street to see
if I can hail one down."
I ran down to the street, near the Shmuel
Hanavi and Bar-Ilan intersection, and put my hand out to hail a taxi. The street
was filled with cars.
About thirty seconds passed and a mini-van pulled
up to the curb. The window rolled down. There, inside, sat four of my good friends
"Meir! What are you doing here?" my friend, Aryeh
"I'm on the way to my wedding. What are you doing here?"
"We're on our way to your wedding, too!"
worry," I replied, "I promise that you're not late!"
course, they sat me in the front passenger seat and showed me the honor due a
king. Wedding music blared on the car stereo and someone
gave me a cell phone (still a rarity in those days) to call the hall and tell
them that I was on the way. In the end, it all worked out better than if I had
planned it myself.
Twenty years have passed since that day-good years and
hard years, years of joy and years of challenges. But I'm still married, and I
thank G-d every day for my wife and family. Over the years, when I've struggled
with the inevitable difficulties that married life brings, the tremendous hashgacha
pratis (Divine supervision) I saw on my wedding day helps me pull through.
I have no doubt that Eliyahu Hanavi (Elijah the Prophet) was involved,
But if you ask me who he was in this story, that's harder to say. Was he embodied
by my friends, who saved me in a moment of need, or perhaps he was the taxi driver,
whose obstinacy proved to be a blessing in disguise, for which I thank him until
Source: Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Shore
currently lives in Jerusalem, where he is a published writer and author, storyteller,
and Torah teacher. The above story appears in his newest book, "Meeting Elijah",
available from Amazon.
Connection: Weekly Reading
(Talk about wedding hardships
a chatan on his wedding day is considered a king.
Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and chief editor
of this website (and of KabbalaOnline.org). He has hundreds of published stories
to his credit, and many have been translated into other languages. He tells them
live at Ascent nearly every Saturday night.
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