Rosh Hodesh Bet
Hodesh Tov uMevorah!
by Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher
first published here
The father of the first Jewish family, Yakov, was the victim of a last minute switch on his wedding night. His father-in-law, Lavan, substituted Leah, the older of his two daughters, for Rachel, the one whom Yakov loved and worked for. Yakov discovered the deception only after he had consummated the marriage with Leah. Yakov, choosing to accept his Mazal (fate), remained with Leah and later also married Rachel, the bride of his choice.
Why did the first Jewish wedding have to take place through deceit and deception?
Why did the first Jewish family have to come into existence in such an enigmatic and strange manner?
Leah represents Yakov's Mazal (fate). She is the woman whom Yakov was destined to marry. Rachel represents choice. She is the woman whom Yakov loved and chose to marry. Why does the Torah have to record this strange story of Yakov’s wedding deception? The narrative portions of the Torah contain much more than simple stories.
The entire Torah is G-d's Personal, Authorized living manual for today's world. Every word in the Torah is G-d’s GPS (G-d's Personal System) for life.
There is a profound message being taught here. When one gets married, although he thinks that he is marrying a Rachel, the one that he chose, there are bound to be unforeseen surprises.
One may discover, after the wedding night, that he has also married a Leah, who represents the unanticipated nature of one's spouse. This unforeseen nature, however, is exactly what one needs in a spouse. As the Rolling Stones number one song goes, "You can't always get what you want, but get what you need". Married life is full of surprises.
That is why the groom veils his bride. Because through this veil, he is stating in effect, I will love, cherish and respect not only the 'you' which is revealed to me, but also those aspects of your personality that are hidden from me. As I am bonding with you in marriage, I am creating a space within me for the totality of your entire being, including what remains veiled.
Under the Chuppah the groom says to the bride, "You are sanctified to me with this ring …" What he means is that I can't attain my full potential of sanctity without you. However, the bride remains silent. Why does she not verbally acknowledge her groom's words and his gift?
The Baal Shem Tov explains that under the Chuppah the bride has reached such an exalted and unprecedented level of Kedushah that the world is not ready yet to hear her holy speech.
When the Moshiach comes, then the world will have reached its spiritual zenith, and only then the bride will speak under the Chuppah. It will be as the Prophet Yirmiyahu says, "There will be heard in the cities of Yehudah and in the streets of Yerushalayim, the sound of joy and the sound of gladness, the voice of the groom and the voice of the BRIDE!"
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