Friday, June 29, 2007

The REAL Wedding... :)

For those of you matchmakers out there, here's a different ending...

She was alone again. Alone in a room full of her heart. She felt the tears welling up again, against her will. As she sat down on a chair to compose herself, she heard footsteps come up from behind. She looked up to see the same guy from before.

"Are you OK? I noticed your face earlier, and I asked a friend who you were right then, during the chuppah. He said you were the kallah's closest friend."

"Yeah, I'm fine. I mean, I'll be fine."

"Just wanted you to know that my friend will take good care of yours... Don't worry."

"Oh, I'm not worried. It's just that... well... you know..."

"Yeah, I know. I feel the same." He looked down at her. "All the guys going and getting married, off into married neverland, while I remain on the sidelines."

She stared. "Wow, you really do know how it feels. Never thought a guy felt like that. I always look over and see you all talking, and I often wonder why you even bothered to come to the chuppah."

"Well, listen, I can't exactly stand there crying. I'd never hear the end of it. So we sometimes talk just to get our minds off of it all." He gave a sad smile. "Sometimes, I wish it didn't have to be that way."

"I guess that as a girl, it is easier to let out my emotions. But I sometimes feel so foolish. Especially now. I mean, she's my best friend. I want to be happy for her, and here I am, bawling my eyes out. It's like some unseen force took my heart, ripped it in two and place a bucket of tears in its place. I just can't stop crying."

"Well, you're not crying now." He grinned.

She blushed. "Umm... well... I'm sort of being distracted right now..."
She felt her cheeks turn a deeper shade of red.

He smiled again. "Ah, well, we seem to be getting on pretty well. You wanna go out some time?"

She turned crimson. "I guess... umm.. but.. I don't even know your name!"

"That makes two of us. I don't know yours either."

"Do you do this often?"

"Nah. I normally go the shidduch route. But your pain really struck me, so..."

"Thanks for coming over. I truly appreciate it."

"No problem. My pleasure."

They exchanged names and numbers and he left the room, leaving her to contemplate this strange encounter. She couldn't believe herself. She had totally misjudged him. Placed him in a box in which he didn't belong. She felt terrible. Her tears had dried on her face by now, forgotten.

She dreamily walked into the next room, a small smile on her face, and went to join her friends.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Wedding - 5

They were up to the brachos now. One after the next, others walked up, said the blessing to the bride and groom, and took their places at the sidelines.
By now, the talking had reached a crescendo, save for the "amen" after each brachah. She shivered. She thought she could handle maybe one more moment before she'd break. Shatter into a million pieces.

In the distance, she heard the final brachah being said. She saw her friend's veil lifted to drink from the cup. She listened as the singer sang of remembering past destruction. She watched as a cloth covered object was placed on the floor; as the chassan raised and lowered his foot once, twice, three times... She cried as his shoe came crashing down on the glass, breaking her heart along with it.

Then, she smiled. She wiped her eyes and ran over to the chuppah, pushing her way through until she reached her friend and embraced her in a tight hug, whispering "Mazel Tov" over and over again into her friend's ear. She didn't want to let go. Didn't want to erase the smile that now graced her face.

From the corner of her eye, she watched as the chosson was embraced by his friend. As the bochurim started singing and dancing, she felt her friend slowly let go, grabbing on to her new husband's hand as they were led down the aisle.

The guy from across the hall was singing at the top of his lungs as he danced in front of the newlyweds. He looked away for a minute, caught her eye again, and then continued dancing. She watched as their backs receded into the next room, as the sounds of singing slowly grew faint, and as the room slowly emptied once more.

She was alone again. Alone in a room full of her heart. She felt the tears welling up again, against her will. As she sat down on a chair to compose herself, she heard footsteps come up from behind. She looked up to see the same guy from before.

"Are you OK? I noticed your face earlier, and I asked a friend who you were right then, during the chuppah. He said you were the kallah's closest friend."

"Yeah, I'm fine. I mean, I'll be fine."

"Just wanted you to know that my friend will take good care of yours... Don't worry."

"Oh, I'm not worried. It's just that... well... whatever. I don't even know you. I shouldn't exactly be talking to you."

"It's OK. I know what you're trying to say. Ummm... Well... I gotta go now. Just wanted to make sure that you were fine."


He walked away, leaving her to contemplate this strange encounter. She couldn't believe herself. She had totally misjudged him. Placed him in a box in which he didn't belong. She felt terrible. Her tears had dried on her face by now, forgotten.

She dreamily walked into the next room, a small smile on her face, and went to join her friends.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Wedding - 4

She couldn't look anymore. It just hurt too much. Stabbed her in new places every time. She re-opened the tefillah booklet and tried to daven some more as the kesubah was slowly read out loud.

She couldn't. She couldn't say anything. She glanced down at her finger. It now bore an engagement ring. No, not her own. It was her friend's. A segulah, they said. Wear something of the kallah's jewelry, and you'll soon be wearing your own. Baloney. All tall tales. How many pieces of jewelry had she worn so far? How many times had she said Shir Hashirim? How many days had she studied Hilchos Shmiras Halashon?
Countless. Yet seemingly all for naught. She was still the same old her. Single. Alone. Watching it all from the sidelines.

Oh, the rabbis had finished. Now came the main part. Her friend would actually now be a married woman. Just a few words said by her beloved, a token slipped onto her finger and... this sure was hard to take. She looked down at her own finger, adorned with borrowed royalty. She stared at the sparkling stone, the glittering diamonds, and compared it to the simple ring that her friend now wore. So different, yet so far from her reality.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Wedding - 3

She turned away, then turned to look again. A dam burst, and rivers of tears spilled from her eyes, mixing with the black of her eyeliner, streaking her perfectly applied makeup. A sob escaped her throat. A few people turned around, and one even shushed her. She didn't care. She didn't care what others felt, what she looked like. Truly didn't care. She was lost in her world.

Her friend's mother caught her eye, gave a sad little smile, and continued walking down the aisle. She held back another sob.

She turned towards the chuppah, to watch the chassan step forward to greet his bride.
His bride. Her friend.

Someone handed her a tissue, and she wiped her eyes, smudging them even further. She scrunched the tissue in the palm of her hand and squeezed it tightly as her friend was led around the groom. She clenched so hard, her fingers hurt.

She let go a little, and started shredding the tissue as a new song began. That always got her. Especially now. She had chosen that song. It was the one she and her friend always sang together, harmonizing for all they were worth. No more, now. Not for a while.

She glanced across the room. The guys against the wall were murmuring to each other. She grew angry. This was her friend's wedding. How dare they disturb? What kind of friends did this guy have anyway? She looked back at the chuppah. Her friend was still walking in circles. She looked back towards the other side. One guy caught her eye, grinned, and then went on talking.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Wedding - 2

She looked down at the woman, then looked back at the page in her hands. Then looked down again at the woman. This time, the woman looked up and caught her eye.

"Mamale, you don't have a seat? You're crowding me a bit over here."

"Sorry. I'll move." I'll actually be glad to move, she thought.

She walked forward, settling herself against the wall in front of the first row of seats. She now had a clear view of the empty chuppah. And no bothersome woman next to her. She reopened the booklet and began the tefillah just as the music started up again.

She turned towards the back, straining to catch a glimpse of the groom. Her best friend's new best friend. She looked down at the floor as the tears started streaming down her cheeks, gushing forth from some newly discovered spring. Her shoulders heaved as she tried to compose herself. A hand brushed her back, stroked her cheek, and she looked up to see her other friend standing there.

"You okay?"

Obviously not. But she replied "I'll be fine."

"You sure?"

She nodded. The girl walked away, leaving her to her tears and self pity. She hardly heard the sound of "Baruch Habah." She barely focused on the singing, usually her favorite part of the evening. She just watched the floor, focusing on a moving black speck scurrying across the parquet.

The music changed tune, and she once again turned towards the rear of the room, looking for that familiar face that was now hidden behind a cloud of white. Her beautiful, wonderful friend.

to be continued...

The Wedding - 1

The large room slowly emptied as the people filed into the room next door and took their seats. The band packed up a couple of instruments and moved to a new location.
A happy murmured chatter filtered into the room she was left in, seemingly begging her to join in. To take part.

But she stood there, silently looking around, waiting... waiting... for what?
She didn't know herself. Resignedly, she took once last glance at the room and followed the rest to the next part of the evening.

The seats were all filled, so she took her place at the sidelines. Someone handed her a tefillah booklet along with a hurried "Im Yirtze Hashem by you." She whispered her thanks and opened the booklet. The words swam in front of her eyes. She shook her head, focused, and tried to say the tefillos. She couldn't think enough to say the words, however, because of some loud woman seated right at her elbow.

to be continued....

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Conversation With Self

Do it.
Just do it.
Why can't you just say it?
I can't. It's just too hard.
It's just a new situation. I never did this before.
So what?
So it's much harder than I thought it would be.
And therefore, I can't say it.
Why not?
I don't know what the reactions will be.
Whose reactions?
Mine. And the one I have to say this too.
Ah, you see? You said that you "have to" say this...
Yeah, I know. I know I have to. It doesn't mean I want to.
Well, not everything is easy.
I sure know that.
But you gotta do what you gotta do.
Ok, ok. I hear you.
So, are you gonna do it?
Yeah. It's already done.
Good. So how do you feel?
Good, actually. But kinda sad.
Yeah, I thought you'd feel that way.
I'm glad I had the courage...
I am, too.
But sometimes, doing what's right feels so wrong...

Sunday, June 17, 2007


I just got off the phone with a relative in Israel... These are my first thoughts of the situation now occuring...

I shame for you
My city
For a pride that's been misplaced

I shame for you
My love
For a name that's been disgraced

I shame for you
My city
For a people so confused

I shame for you
My love
For requests that were refused

I shame for you
My city
For a fight that can not end

I shame for you
My love
For the violence they send

I shame for you
My city
For the fires in the souls

I shame for you
My love
For misdirected goals

I shame for you
My city
For an act that's been misused

I shame for you
My love
For a love that's been abused

Friday, June 15, 2007

I Never Knew

I never knew
What I'd feel
Until I saw you.

I never knew
What I'd think
Until I spoke your name.

I never knew
What I'd say
Until I met you.

I never knew
What would be
Until you suddenly came.

I never knew
Where I'd go
Until you told me.

I never knew
To get up
Until you held my hand.

I never knew
What I'd do
Until you helped me

I never had
What I'd known
Until I knew you'd understand.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Silence vs. Speech

"Better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt" (attributed to Mark Twain)

One of my favorite quotes, that is. And so true. Oh, is it true!

Oftentimes, we meet quiet people and think them as smart. But after getting to know them a bit, and hearing them speak, we realize that our first impressions were false.

And yet, this quote is dangerous.
Yes, "Siyag Lichochmah Shtikah" - the road to wisdom is through keeping silent - but there's also "Loh Habayshan Lomed" - one who is embarrassed to ask will not learn.

"Lakol Zman VaEis Tachas Hashamayim". There is a time and place for everything. A time for silence, and a time for speaking up.

Iyov kept silent, and suffered for it.
Yisro spoke up, and though at first he had to run away, his son-in-law became Moshe Rabbeinu.

We must teach the children of today to ask. To question. To want to know. To thirst for knowledge. To not be afraid to ask a question out of fear that it may sound foolish. Yiddishkeit is about asking, about questioning, about wanting to know.
And also about keeping silent and listening when it's the right time to do so.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


I look at these young ninth graders.
So innocent.
So unknowing.
And I wonder about them
As they sit here
Scribbling the answers to their final.
I wonder about these young souls.
Who will pass,
And who will fail.
Who will make it,
And who will fall behind.
Who will lead,
And who will follow.
Who will collapse beneath the burdens of life,
And who will grow from them.
Who will marry,
And who will remain single,
And who will divorce,
And who will wait for children.
Who will become disillusioned with Judaism,
And who will marry a future Rosh Yeshiva.
I look at these ninth graders
And I wonder about their future.
So unknown.
So scary.
Yet so bright.

written while proctoring...

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Conversation #2

Conversation with yet another teen. Not a student of mine...

Hi! What's doing?
Not much.
Well, nothing I can do much about anyway.
Why? What happened?
Ummm... I got kicked out of school today?
You what?
Well, not exactly kicked out. I mean, I'm hanging by a thread. I'm really kicked out, but if I follow what the principal told me, then I can stay on.
So... What's the problem?
I can't!
Can't what?
I can't do what they want me to do. It's nice and all to go talk to people, but I want to be able to choose the people I talk to, not have them chosen for me by some idiot of a principal.
Isn't it worth it?
Worth what?
Worth it to just speak to whomever they want you to speak to. You get to stay in the school; you don't go through the craziness of finding a new school; you keep your parents happy; and you'll be more at peace with yourself.
But I don't want to go talk to this woman.
Well, do you want to go looking for another school right now? And besides, you didn't exactly try your hardest this year. Your marks are far below what they should be, and not many schools will take you with that average. It's simpler for you to just stay in this school. Maybe not easier, but simpler.
You're right. It's just that i'm sick of being in a Bais Yaakov school. It's so restricting. I can't do anything. And when I do it anyway, they find out and they get mad.
You know this is the best place for you right now.
Yeah, I know. A non Bais Yaakov wouldn't be for me either. I just wish they would let me be more free. I try so hard to stick to at least some rules while in school. Can't they see how hard it is for me? And besides, my closest friends are in this school. I don't want to leave. And they're good kids, not like me.
You're good, too. You just hide it sometimes.
Yeah, yeah. Whatever.
Don't "whatever" me. It's true.
Yup. Whatever you say.
You know, some day you're going to be this amazing person, and I'm going to look back and say "I knew her when she thought she wasn't great." But back to where we were before - what are we doing about school?
Don't know.
Come on. Make a decision.
Have to sleep on it. It's too difficult to decide right now.
OK. I'll speak to you tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


I love my grandmother.
I really do.
But when she asks me when I'm going to bring her some nachas already, I'm hurt.
Am I not a person in my own right?
Do I not bring nachas to my family through just being who I am?
I can't control when I'll get married.
But giving nachas?


Sunday, June 3, 2007

Did Ever...

Did ever a song
move you so
and make your eyes water?

Did ever a smile
touch your heart
and light a fire inside?

Did ever a hope
come to be
and make you stand taller?

Did ever a sight
set you free
and take you for a ride?

Did ever a soul
show belief
and make your self greater?

Did ever a friend
draw you close
and help you to get by?

Did ever a thought
come to mind
and couldn't wait for later?

Did ever a dream
live in you
and lift you up real high?

And fly.
Just fly.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Me, Myself and I

I'm one of those people who needs time for myself. Often. Very often. And some just don't understand that.
I need time to think things through. I need plenty of quiet time. I need time at the ocean, in the park, in my room... all by my lonesome self.
Only I don't feel lonesome most of the time. I keep myself company.
And... I'll admit it... I talk to myself.
Out loud.
When noone's around.
Berate myself for my wrongdoings.
Applaud myself for my right-doings.
Question my decisions and try to reach some answers.
Yell at people who aren't there.

And I do consider myself sane, folks.