Rabbi Irwin Wiener, D.D.
In the summertime we find ourselves attending weddings. It is a fun time and most often when we think of marriage we are directed to the bride. After all it is “her day.” We tend to forget the groom.
There is the hustle and bustle of finding a suitable wedding dress from somewhere in Frisco, the arrangements for the bridesmaids, the flowers. On and on, the list is endless. The excitement builds. However, we continue to forget the groom.
We forget that the concept of marriage was Divine: “In time, a man leaves his father and mother and joins to his wife so they become as one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)” The Biblical writers understood the loneliness men and women encounter.
The Sages of old subscribed to the theory that there are three views of life that are considered beautiful in the eyes of God and man: Harmony between brothers, closeness among neighbors, and a man and his wife who are as one. The common thread among all the theories of marriage and love and happiness is oneness.
Sometimes I try to imagine what is going through a groom’s mind when I stand with him waiting for his bride to make her way down the aisle. I guess part of what he is thinking is thankfulness for reaching this milestone unscathed. Perhaps thoughts settle on the very time and space that he finds himself reaching out to complete the process of fulfillment. And maybe, just maybe, he concentrates on the act of love that finds him standing next to the one he loves.
There is a story of a man having a debate with another regarding the value of marriage. The one man claims that God is a thief because He made Adam fall asleep and then stole one of his ribs. The other responded with a little anecdote that spoke of a thief entering a home in the middle of the night and took a silver tray and replaced it with a gold one.
The first man replied, “if only that were to happen to him.” The second man explained, “that is exactly what happened when God took the rib from Adam and enriched him with a wife.”
Is that what he is thinking when he is about to enrich his life with the person he searched for and found? Does he believe that his life has been truly blessed with the most valuable of gifts, the bond between male and female which is the secret of true faith?
A group of men were meeting for their weekly lunch get together. And as is the custom they began to tell each other jokes. One piped up and asked the question: “What did Eve do whenever Adam came home late in the evening?” And he answered his own question: “She counted his ribs.”
Perhaps levity is the order of the day as the groom watches the world around him change forever. After all the world is built by love as Scriptures tells us. And all the “ribbing” in the world won’t change that.