Aug. 9th, 2010

leftyjew: (Default)
In a traditional modern Jewish wedding, the bride spend the morning of the wedding getting primped and such and then sit on a chair to welcome people who give her blessings and say happy things to her. This is called her "kabbalat kallah". During this time, the groom is hanging out with his raucous male friends and relatives. While they get drunk, he tries to give a dvar Torah, but in order to hide his inherent nervousness (of getting married, of having sex, or of public speaking), his ever-more-inebriated friends consistently interrupt him with clean "Rocky Horror Picture Show"-style call-outs and random bursts of song, barely letting him get a word out. This is called his tisch.

At the start of the process, [ profile] chococynic and I thought, "Why don't we learn tractate Kiddushin and then have separate tisches celebrating our achievements on finishing that (siyyums)?" So we got to learning Kiddushin together. Once. Maybe a half-dozen times. We didn't get through more than 20 pages together out of over 140 (I think we get to leaf 8a or so). I decided I'd try learning it on my own since I had free time and [ profile] chococynic was in school. That was hard going. I like detail and understanding what I read, and sometimes it's useful to have another person's perspective on what the heck they're talking about regarding XY or Z. Anyway, the long of it is that though I had a more regular pace, I never finished, and [ profile] chococynic who read it straight through over a few weeks, did. So her tisch was also to be a siyyum, and mine was not.

We had been told that the rooms were next door to each other, very small (lie) and that they could only fit 15 or 25 in each (wrong). So we only invited a small group of friends each to the tisches. [ profile] chococynic chose one dedicated group of friends who'd done this all before and knew what to expect and how to be rowdy. I chose friends from a wide spectrum who would be fun to sing and dance with and who didn't need TOO much background information. Oh, and unlike traditional modern tisches, they would be potluck affairs since the caterer was in a different location. I provided a bit of food, some animal head paper plates, some booze, and paper cups. Everyone else was asked to bring food (and [ profile] nosockstorock was to coordinate all of that).

Anyway, we headed from the photo session into the tisch rooms - [ profile] chococynic's first, greeted by her singing, dancing friends and a table all set up with plates and people standing and waiting to joyously welcome us and dance with us!

Then I passed through onto my room... with no one there. Admittedly, the invitation asked people to show up by 11 and it was 10:58, but I was a little sad. But soon good people started coming and more and more the room filled up and I started my speech. I gave a three minute speech in 20 minutes as I was interrupted by loving friends and family, my nieces got to join in some of the singing, and it was a good time. I was nervous then and the night before when I was drafting my speech, so it was nice to have the interruptions.

I said something about the Jews mourning for Aaron but not Miriam in the desert and how they each represented something important, but Miriam's contributions were not as easy to spot and therefore, we didn't mourn her. I said that [ profile] chococynic and I would try to be both Aaron and Miriam to our friends and communities — by both like Aaron making peace between people and actively creating holiness but also like Miriam by providing the basic foundations of existence (e.g., stacking chairs or having people over).

We ended with dancing and singing, and [ profile] chococynic being danced into the room with all her raucous friends (who we could hear through the wall the whole time!) Ohhh ohhh ohhh ohhh! Aiyai yai yai! And we circle-danced for the next good while (there are photos on Facebook of this, and others will go online one day).

Things calmed down and we cleared everyone (and everything) out of the room to make way for the document signings and the bedeken.


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