Friday, August 4, 2023

Marching Down The Chuppah

This week Henny and I experienced the extraordinary blessing of walking down a child to the Chuppah. There are some experiences in life where an attempt to articulate the experience in words fall short and this falls into that category. There are a few thoughts that are marinating in my head this week that I would like to share. Gratitude: We are so grateful to G-d for bringing us to this milestone. Just about one year ago, my family was involved in a major automobile accident. I recall lying at the side of the road in rural Kentucky, waiting in what seemed forever for an ambulance to arrive. I watched my kids drift in and out of consciousness and wasn’t sure what outcome to anticipate. I recall my daughter Rachelli saying shortly afterward, “This is not our world. This is Hashem’s world, and we have the privilege of living in it.” With much prayer, love, and support, our family came back from the brink. I have emerged from that experience with a new sense of gratitude towards all of life’s miracles, no matter how small they may seem. The Talmud teaches that 40 days prior to the conception of a person, it is already decreed to whom the person will marry. This is known in the vernacular as a bashert. Not everyone is fortunate to marry their bashert. After all, we are endowed with free will and can choose to turn away from meeting our bashert. It is with much prayer and grace that one is blessed to actually marry their bashert. Henny and I had a first-row seat to the great blessing of our daughter Tammy finding her bashert in her now husband, Zevi. We are so grateful to G-d for this special privilege. Another thought that occupied my mind this week was the importance of the process. It seems like another world in 2002 when a little girl was born to Henny and me in Jerusalem. We moved to Jacksonville shortly before her second birthday. Parenting is an endeavor that is uneven and unpredictable. Sometimes as parents, we are forced to eat humble pie. In our case, we made the painful decision to send away our kids at a young age so they could pursue an outstanding Jewish education while we stayed in Jacksonville. (The development of a local amazing High School did not exist at that time). Many tears were spilled in those years by members of our family. There were some agonizing moments during those years when we questioned whether our decisions were correct. Unquestionably, the fact that our kids grew up in the warm Jewish Community of Jacksonville, where they were surrounded by love, contributed to their development. As Henny and I took the first steps of marching Tammy down to the Chuppah, I felt an overwhelming feeling of gratitude to G-d and all the beloved family, friends, and community members for their love, support, and dedication leading up to that moment. Have a Peaceful Shabbos, Rabbi Yaakov Fisch

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