The Jewish Wedding I

House of Love and Prayer
San Francisco, 5733.

Transcribed by Rabbi Elana Rappaport Schachter
for the Holy Beggars’ Gazette

What is the highest level a person can reach? I’ll tell you on a simple level.
Sometimes you hear a person laughing and it sounds like laughter, but if you
have really good ears it really sounds like crying. You listen to a hurricane and it
sounds like the wind is angry, but if you have really good ears you know that the
wind is searching for something is so desperate. A wedding is a strange thing,
and if you don’t have good ears the whole thing sounds shallow. Most people don’t
hear what is going on at a wedding. The holy bride walked in… she didn’t say
anything. The holy groom walked in… he didn’t say anything. That’s only if you
don’t have good ears. If you had mamash good ears you could hear not only what
the holy bride is crying now, but you could hear her cries from the very first cry
on, and the same with the chasan (groom). When they walk to the wedding they don’t
begin from a little room down the hall, but from their very first second to this
minute was one long walk to the wedding. So I want to bless each holy couple that
they are with people who hear them in a very deep way, and that G-d should bless
them with children who also hear, and they should grow in a world that hears.

Reb Nachman says that people come to a wedding and then they walk out. One
says, “It was a beautiful wedding. I liked the food.” Another says, ” I liked the
music.” Another says, “I met a lot of good friends there.”  They weren’t really at
the wedding. Then someone walks out and says, “Baruch HaShem, thank G-d,
those two got together!”” He was there at the wedding.

The Veil

The more real a thing is the less you can see it. After you reach the level where
you see all those things which are not to be seen, then you open your eyes and
everything is clear to you and it feels like you saw it all the time. To love someone
is the deepest thing in the world, but you can’t prove it. G-d is the most, utmost
real thing in the world and you can’t see Him, but after you don’t see Him, you see
Him. Then you can see Him everywhere, in every flower, in every cloud, in every
little stone, in every candle. When we say the Shema, G-d is One, we close our eyes,
because first we don’t see G-d, we’re blind, we just believe, but then we open our
eyes and it is so clear. He’s always there.

If people only know each other by what they see, then there is no connection
between them. If they see about each other all the things that nobody else sees
that means they really love each other; that the A-mighty put them together.
This is the source of the tradition that the chasan (groom) is putting a veil over
the face of the kallah (bride). He tells her, and tells the world, “I have seen in my
kallah things which nobody else has seen.”

G-d doesn’t only put people together in this world; they have been put together
before they were born. So the chasan is telling his kallah, “Believe me, I
remember. I remember a long time ago when we were not seen in this world yet,
when the A-mighty put us together.”  The holiness of a wedding is that they do it
of their own free will, their own free choice, but after their free choice they
realize they had no free choice, because G-d had put them together all the time.

Friends, you must understand that when we do something we are doing it and
then it is over and done, but that when G-d is doing something it is there all the
time. The truth is that at the moment of the wedding G-d is putting chasan and
kallah together like He never did in Heaven, because this world is much deeper
than Heaven. Heaven is only what G-d is doing, but this world is us and G-d, and
two are always stronger. When the chasan covers the kallah, from that moment
on G-d is putting them together in such a high place that nobody has ever seen it,
nobody knows, not even the prophets, not even our patriarchs, just the two of
them alone with G-d.

We wish they will always have a beautiful face. In Hebrew panim - face, and
p’nim, - inside, are the same thing. We always want them to be one, insides and
outsides, from all four sides.

People get married in order to bring children into the world. When the chasan
covers the kallah’s face that means he knows that children are coming from
such a high place where nobody can see, nobody can look, only G-d in Heaven can
know. So, according to our holy tradition that very split second of covering the
kallah’s face is the moment when they should both pray that their children
should come from the holiest place in the world.

The Tallis

A good friend is someone where I can hide. Sometimes we make a lot of mistakes
and we have nowhere to hide. A Tallis, a holy prayer shawl, is a place where I can
hide. According to our holy tradition, a tallis is given as a gift from the bride to
the groom. You know someone loves you when you are good and sweet, but
everyone has a part that is not perfect. So the bride says to the groom, “You can
trust me so much, you can hide under my soul all the time. I shall help you hide
under this tallis for all eternity.” The truth is that in our lives we meet many
people whom we love, but only one person who gives us a tallis of peace where we
can hide.

The Ring

There are two lights in the world. There is finite light, which has measures,
which has vessels. Then there is the infinite light which has no vessels, has no
beginning and never ending. This is round. Every person in the world has a little
bit of measured and a little bit of unmeasured light, and yet even the
unmeasured is individual. In that part of the light which has measure,
everybody’s measure is different. Even in the light of the infinite, in the
unmeasured, the holiness of human beings is that even though we are all
infinite, I am not infinite in the same way you are infinite. But then there is
something infinite behind all this which brings all the infinite together. The
kallah walks in circles around the chasan, giving him that part of herself which
is infinite. The holy chasan gives her a little ring, giving her that part of himself
which is infinite. Both of them are standing under the chupah (canopy), the
great infinite light which covers both of them together, which is G-d’s light
beyond everything. that real, holy, infinite light which has no beginning and
never ending is what gets people together.

The Holy Beis Yaakov says if someone gives you a gift and you don’t know the
worth of it then you didn’t receive that gift properly. Imagine if someone gives
me a little ring and I think it is worth only a dollar. So my thank you is a dollarÕs
worth thank you. I didn’t receive more. If I know the ring is worth one hundred
dollars I say thank you differently, because I receive it differently. Can you
imagine if someone gives me something and I know it is eternity?!

I’m sure you gave a lot of gifts in your life, but none of them compare to the
wedding ring. For the first time in your life you are privileged to give someone a
gift and know you are really doing G-d’s will. For the first time in your life you
give someone a gift and you know your whole life depends on that little gift. For
the first time in your life you give someone a gift and you know this person will
remember it in eternity. For the first time you give someone a gift and you know
your great great grandchildren will know. So you can imagine how round this
ring is. It is really eternal. It has no beginning and never ending. It will be
remembered forever.

When you receive this ring it is mamash eternity. Your life depends on it, your
children, the whole world, the coming of Messiach depends on it. The Gemara
says Messiach can come only when all the people who are supposed to be in the
world to bring Messiach are here. Everybody has a little brick for the Great
Highway, and until everybody has put his or her stone in the right place the
Highway isn’t yet finished.

The Ketubah

    The Midrash says the Torah was written with black fire on white fire. White
fire is when everything is clear. Black fire is when everything is dark. Imagine I
take a piece of white paper and I start writing letters. Someone who doesn’t know
about letters says, “Why are you putting so much darkness on the white paper?” I
say, “You don’t understand. I’m writing holy words.” Sometimes we are a little bit
angry with G-d and we think, “Why do you put so much darkness upon us?” But
after the whole thing is over we realize G-d was writing holy letters. We bless the
chasan and kallah that they should be able to read the black fire and the white
fire. We bless them that there should always be white fire around them because a
letter can’t live without white fire. A Jew can’t live without white fire. Holy
Shabbos kept us going even with all the dark fires. Shabbos is just white fire.
Davening is white fire. Having a little house where you love each other is real
white fire. On that while fire HaShem is writing beautiful words, holy words.

    The chasan is promising in the ketubah, “I shall work and I shall treasure and I
shall feed and I shall sustain.” It means “I shall feed your body and sustain your
soul with Truth.”

    The holy Strelisker was fire, but before he was married he was a holy beggar He
was a little butler in a rich man’s house and his wife-to-be was a domestic helper,
sweeping the floors. No one knew how holy they were, the holy of holiest. Finally
the rich man married them off. it was a little wedding. I’m sure there were ten
holy beggars there, and maybe the thirty-six hidden tzaddikim, but officially it
was just the rich man and a few rabbis. Under the chupah they read the ketubah
and the seven blessings, and right after the wedding was over, the holy Strelisker
grabbed his wife, jumped on a wagon, and wanted to leave. The people asked him,
“Why are you running? We’ve prepared a little feast for you.” He said, “I have no
time, because when you read in the ketubah ‘who sustain and feed their wives
with truth’ I suddenly realized that my wife and I don’t know the truth yet.
Therefore we are rushing to my holy Rebbe, Reb Shlomo Karliner to learn fast
what it is to be true, what the truth is.” So holy Strelisker and his holy wife
arrived in Karlin and there were real Sheva Brochos for them - with Truth!

    The smaller a thing is, the more precious it is. The holy Shinover said, “When I
was young I thought the blacksmith must be the richest man in the world,
because when he works he makes noise all over the world. He is sweating. He is
really working hard. A little jeweler who walks around with a little suitcase with
no sweat, no noise, how can he make a living? Then I grew up and I realized that
the blacksmith has tsores (problems). All the noise he was making had nothing
behind it. The jeweler doesn’t make any noise, but he has a sweet little suitcase,
and there are the millions.”

    A holy beggar is someone who doesn’t make much noise, and maybe he doesn’t
even know very much, but he has a little ketubah. He has one sweet little paper,
and everything is written on it. I want to bless you, chasan and kallah, that when
you have children, the night before you give your child a name, when you don’t
know which name to give, take out the ketubah and cry over It. Then your
eyesight will be so clear and you will know just what name to give.

The Glass

The holy Baal Shem Tov says that children find it hard to give their parents
advice. Sometimes they would like to, but it’s a little bit hard. But a good friend is
very easy to give advice to. Very few minutes in our lives are we true servants of
G-d. Very few moments are we really G-d’s children. Even fewer moments are we
on the level of being G-d’s friends. Under the chupah you are definitely G-d’s
friends. In fact you are G-d’s partners, building the world. Therefore it is a
custom that the chasan gives G-d a little bit of advice. You know what you do? You
take a perfectly good glass, with nothing wrong, and you break it. You are
showing G-d, “Don’t you see how bad it looks when someone breaks a glass, so why
is the world broken? Why did You let it happen? Why did You let it happen that so
many hearts should be broken and crippled?” The difference is that to fix a
broken glass takes so much time; all a broken heart needs is to be uplifted. We are
telling G-d, “If I want to fix this glass it would take me so long, but You, G-d, You
can fix it in a minute. Why don’t You?

      Everything perfect is like the Holy Temple, and everything destroyed is the
destruction of the Holy Temple. If there would be no more destruction in the
world the Holy Temple would be rebuilt.  When the Belzer Rebbetsn passed away, 
the Rebbe was walking behind the coffin and crying terribly. The Chassidim
asked him, “Rebbe, why are you crying so terribly?” He answered, “I’ll tell you. If I
could bring my wife back to life again wouldn’t I do it? I would do anything in the
world! So here I am, walking behind her coffin knowing the truth. If I could bring
her back to life I would do it. You, G-d, You can bring the whole world back to life!
Why don’t You? Why don’t You?”

  Anyway friends, let this glass be the last broken thing in the world. From now on
let there be no more breaking hearts, no more breaking spirits, no more unsaid

by  Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach
Posted in: Personal Growth