There are always glitches at weddings. It may be a lost or misplaced item, a delay in the starting time, late relatives, bad weather, you name it. It just seems to be part of the whole experience.
At our most recent wedding in Clearwater Beach, the weekend after Rosh Hashanah, the weather decided to again have its say. Twenty minutes before the ceremony was due to begin a decision was made to move the ceremony inside. Naturally the bride was devastated. Instead of overlooking the ocean from a sixteenth floor balcony, the ceremony would be in in a room that wouldn’t have enough chairs for all the guests.
I knew that as soon as the bride walked down the aisle and stood under the chuppah, (the wedding canopy) it wouldn’t really matter whether we were inside or outside. For something magical always happens under the chuppah. The Divine Essence that comes is Shechinah, the Feminine aspect of G-d. She transforms the entire space with Her Sacredness and Love.
But it seems there was another glitch. There was no longer a chuppah. The winds were so strong the whole thing was knocked down and it couldn’t be re-erected! Rabbi David and I quickly came up with a plan. We would just make our own chuppah, modeled after the traditional hand held one we often use. It is made with four bamboo poles and uses a tallit (prayer shawl) as the canopy.
I had an extra tallit with me. We just needed something to take the place of the four poles. The hotel came to the rescue and found four tall easel holders. Perfect! It would do! But then there was a further glitch. The groom was unusually tall, too tall for our makeshift chuppah!
Okay, we would have to institute Plan B. Two of the groomsmen would hold the tallit over the couple during the ring exchange. I asked the two tallest groomsmen to practice holding the tallit and yes, the groom just fit underneath! We still wouldn’t have a chuppah throughout the entire ceremony but this would be better than nothing! But even so, I was still like a disappointed bride.
Rabbi David had his own ideas. Right before the ceremony he told me to make sure the people remained standing after the bride circled the groom. He then told everyone we would be creating a Canopy of Love to replace the wind blown one. He asked us all to raise our hands, form an arc with our arms and send Love to create a canopy over the couple.
And a canopy was truly created! But this one wasn’t just over the couple, Rabbi David and me but extended over everyone! The wedding ceremony itself was filled with such Joy and Laughter! The Canopy of Love truly connected each one of us…
On our way home we stopped in Port Charlotte, the half way point between Clearwater Beach and our home in Boca Raton. Our hotel manager told us that the hotel was booked to capacity with people from all over the country who had come to help with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
My heart was so touched by this!
It seems that a Canopy of Love is everywhere…
Our Tallit Chuppah at my daughter's wedding...