Saturday, April 29, 2023

Such Kindness

Saturday evening, April 22, 2023, Father Dan Clayton and I co-officiated Lindsey and Justin’s wedding ceremony at the Stonebriar Country Club in Frisco, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

There are wonderful movies about weddings. To be honest, there are less than wonderful movies about weddings. The life-cycle event that there is a paucity of movies about is Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. 

There is one exception that proves the rule, and that is Keeping Up with the Steins, a little-known movie with some very well-known stars. The opening scene, which instigates the drama the movie revolves around, has the Bar Mitzvah boy being pulled into the banquet hall by two very attractive women, on a very realistic model of the Titanic’s bow, his hands stretched wide, screaming, “I’m king of the Torah!”

Now, if you thought that Keeping Up with the Steins has no real-life analogue, you are sorely mistaken. In fact, its release date, May 12, 2006, is downright suspicious. Somebody here might be owed some money. 

Here’s Lindsey: “I was bat mitzvahed in August of 2005 at Shearith Israel in Dallas (the theme was Lindsey’s luau, and my uncles and family friends carried me out on a surfboard).” QED, as the attorneys here might say. Folks, this was all a very long and elaborate way of saying that the reception today is gonna be LIT! 

I love this couple’s approach to their faiths. Lindsey says, “I was always spiritually curious. The facts were never good enough. I always wanted the background and history, the why and the how.” 

That is about the most quintessentially Jewish statement I have ever heard. In fact, the foundational book of our faith – no, not the Bible – the Talmud, is basically an edited form of a bunch of guys taking that approach. Incidentally, this helps explain why the second-best profession, as far as Jewish parents are concerned, is lawyer. Doctor is obviously still number one. Sorry, Lindsey. 

Here’s what Justin says, “She inspires me to be a better man, helps me grow in my faith, and never fails to love stronger than anyone I know. I am so excited to enter into this covenant together.” 

Now, if you analyze that at surface level, it might confuse you. You might think that marrying someone of another faith would weaken you in your faith or, at the very least, be neutral in that respect. 

You would be mistaken. I cannot tell you how many of the couples I have worked with have told me something like what Justin did, that their partner of another faith has strengthened their faith. 

How? Here’s the secret: Justin says, “Our marriage is something that Lindsey and I have discerned intensely for quite some time. I wholeheartedly believe that she and I are, at risk of sounding overly cheesy, meant to be.”

In this, Justin, unconsciously invokes a common Jewish folk idea, contained in that rich Yiddish word, bashert. The Oxford Dictionary defines this word, as “a person's soulmate, especially when considered as an ideal or predestined marriage partner.” 

Now, Judaism (and Catholicism) don’t really believe in predestination, but what Lindsey says does make me wonder: “He knows what I need before I do and can read me the way no one has ever been able to.” She does add, “He isn’t too shabby looking either. I am biased but I think he’s gorgeous.” Folks, she ain’t lyin, so as my kids might say, “Nuff said.” Let’s get this show on the road!”