Divrei Torah

Meet Me at the End of the Mechitzah


Stevie and Aviva, Aviva and Stevie

Every child asks in a whisper from the heart to the parents, “Was I created in the holiest and highest Heaven of love?” This is the ritualized moment of your own children`s suspended soul, here, now, among us under this chuppah. There are Seven Heavens that human beings can climb in the celestial spheres and each Heaven ascends like the rungs of our father Yaakov’s Ladder, stepping skyward on the petals of the Tree of Eternity that was in the center of Gan Eden.

In the marriage ceremony the one action that the bride actively creates is to raise the chuppah towards G-d’s abode, “That is where our home will preside,” she demonstrates as she encircles her chatan. The only way that G-d will meet them is when they have brought the chuppah to the verge of infinite heights. Then the Al-mighty’s Shekhinah comes down from the top three sefirot of eternity and spreads upon their avowed love (“VeRuach Elokim Merachefet al Pnei Hamayim”). This is your Sukkat Shalom to ever retrieve. Here they glimpse Hamakom Hakodesh – when we ask in the kedusha, “Ayeh mekom kevodo?” “Where is G-d’s glory found?” You will answer, “Here.” You will see in each other’s eyes this moment, again and again. Stevie will break the glass at the end of the ceremony to bring back your union to the world, recalling the whirl of these dizzying heights. And each child should know that this is the love that they were created from.

The letters in the words adam harishon, the primordial Adam, can be remade into three words – Hashem, yeshurun, and meod (The Almighty’s name, the highest form of the projection of the Nation of Israel, and the combination of the heart and the soul passions held together in Israel’s love of God which we recite in the Shema). This mystery is implied through the very strange way that humanity was created. G-d blew eternal life into Adam and Eve in the act of creating them. Human creation was like no other. We were created by the essential holy wind of God that hovered over the abyss– the Tohu vaVohu (Genesis 1:2), when we were kissed with Heavenly beauty from G-d’s mouth (yafeh). From that beautiful breath which says “HaRuach Elokim merachefet al pnei ha’mayim,” (Genesis 1:2) this is what you breathe in and out of yourselves when you kiss in deepest embrace. We therefore read the story of Adam and Eve put into the world to tell us that we are not merely descendants of Noah, ish tamim, but we are descendants of the primordial ephemera that were created from deep within an interlocked ribcage. We breathe, we kiss, we embrace our breath in the intimacy of re-discovering/uncovering the eternal life that G-d has placed within us.

It says that a man leaves his mother and father and cleaves to his wife. The ish (spelled Aleph–Yud–Shin)and the isha (spelled Aleph–Shin–Hey) recreate themselves when they intersect: aleph and shin and yud and hey, G-d’s fire (Esh, spelled Aleph–Shin), and of course when this word is broken down aleph stands for aretz, the earthly world, and shin stands for shamayim, the heavenly world. Here we have the four elements of earth, water, fire, and air. You, Stevie, look downwards as Rabbi Shoham bears upon you scrutinizing, asking in undertone, “How gentle are you and how tender are you with our lovely Aviva, this precious child, this gift from G-d?” Yet look sideways to your defender, Aviva’s mother, who will be the second most important love in your life, because she has taught and modeled your Aviva, the sanctity and blessing of womanhood.

It is remarkable that it doesn’t say that the woman leaves her mother and her father, but only the man. In truth, it is only temporary. He leaves his parents only to come back to them in full expression of what he is becoming now. You, Stevie, will say to your glorious parents Maxime and Marcelo, “I pray that I will match the exquisite G-d-filled love that you have wrapped us in.” Then you and Aviva will emerge into one being and back into two.  (Similarly did G-d create each day to separate and then be remade and rejoined anew, so do we in our growth, divide like the cell does to rejoin into a new, a more profound whole.) This is the makeup of Kedusha that you two will present to G-d in establishing your family within our tradition just as Shabbat will be embraided into your family’s daily rituals.

A tzadik never speaks to a person, he may look at them but he doesn’t talk to them. A tzadik speaks always and only to the Eibishter. The tzadik sees the Ruach Elokim inside everyone and that is the conversation of soul. The word tzadik has the words keitz and dai inside. It speaks of what is at the end, the other side of the material embodiment, and keitz is the spiritual endlessness. Dai can also take on the word yad. This which is what goes past the reach, the keitz yad, without limit.

I entitle your aufruf – “Meet Me at the End of the Mechitzah.” In the sedra, Beha’alotcha, we learn that the one daily act of the Kohen Gadol was to rekindle the Ner Tamid, the Eternal Light. How can you rekindle what is inextinguishable? We are told that the westernmost candle of the holy menorah never went out. The Kohen Gadol merely regulated the light of the golden candelabra. This is the most holy work – to raise or to temper the flame of light within everything. It is a terrible thing that the Temple has been destroyed for these near two millennia. The world needs a big light strongly from Moriah. It has been too dark, this exile. But the one infinitesimal recompense is that each must find our Kohen Gadol in our lives. We must find our Kohen Gadol to reinflame our own inner light and so too do we become the Kohen Hagadol for another. That is what I believe you are doing tonight.

In this week’s sedra, Shlach Lecha, we are commanded to wear the ptil tekhelet. Even though our taleisim are not blue, the tallit that our kallah gave to us, our chuppah tallit that we daven in, that we cry and live inside, that we will even be buried in, that tallit of love that we were married in, is the one in which every bride tells her ba’al “I see, ptil techelet in you, in our creation this is the force of the tzadik who sees the ruach Elokim,” and this is the force of the zedekiah who sees the eternal light always lit and even through these two millennia of galus.  The Rabbis colour for us  to image the Divine blue thread as the midnight sky canopy.  Aviva encircled your souls into one,  ringed in really, brought you to the threshold of Heaven’s  heaven.  We witness . Your interlaced neshama inhalers your unique tallis-blue p’til  your chuppah ceiling.  Drink this Shqbbos thirt love. It is why G-d put you into Eden.

Aviva and Stevie, bless the world with your love. Amen.


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