You know how it is. If you’re fortunate, you find the right wife, a good person, and you slowly begin to build a life together pretty much on your own. Then if G-d shines His Countenance on you, the children begin to arrive one at a time. Sometimes there are multiples, but not in our case.
These babies grow gradually, to the point where you begin to believe sometimes that the sum total of your entire destiny in life is to change diapers. But that eventually disappears as the kids start walking, begin school, and so on down the line.
How should people respond to the question of “Where does the time go?” All we know is that the clock keeps ticking. The children are in school throughout the main part of the day, then they start going to camp for the summer, driving cars, and before you know it, you have these adults walking around in your home.
All along, as these events unwind, as you daven three times daily, you always have in mind at least this one thing: that the children are doing what they are supposed to be doing at the various stages of their lives. When they are supposed to be learning Torah they should be learning, and when it’s time for an advanced education they are in school acquiring exactly that, and so on.
Then the time comes for them to step out on their own, find an appropriate spouse who shares their visions and objectives in life, and — just as our parents did when we were that age,— we begin to coach, and, in a nuanced fashion, maneuver or encourage them in that direction.
As you probably know from a piece I wrote a few weeks ago, our son Nachi is getting married this Sunday night to Shana Katz of Monsey. On Sunday evening, at about 8 p.m. or so, they will be Shana and Nachi Gordon.
The Talmud says that if someone tells you that he worked hard on a matter and was not successful, do not believe him. If he says that he did not work on something but succeeded anyway, also do not believe it. If someone tells you, however, that he worked hard on a project and achieved success, then you can believe him.
So next week, our youngest — yes, our baby, so to speak — steps out in the direction of going out on his own. He and his older siblings are all still very much attached in some ways, and that’s good, the way all of us want it. I like to call it “dependently independent.”
In a sense, it is also kind of a magical occurrence. There we were, my wife and I, evolving as a family with six children, and then a few years pass, they marry, and now there are 12 children. And just think that for half of them I did not even have to pay any tuition! Now there’s a dream.
Last Shabbos, we had the aufruf here in the Five Towns and it was a celebratory and festive occasion. In shul, our dear friend Shloime Dachs led the services along with the Zemiros choir led by Yoeli Polachek. The davening was meaningful and beautiful. The shul was filled with friends and family, and davening was followed by a festive kiddush with plenty to drink and eat.
Now it is down to the last few days prior to this momentous day in the lives of the chassan and kallah as well as both families involved. I think I can write thousands of words about the intricacy of how a shidduch comes about in this day and age in our communities. Not everyone sticks to the rigid rules that exist and have evolved over the years, but in this case these two young people did, and they are glad that they did.
Now that mostly everything has been done, I am observing my wife arrange the seating, which is a painstaking and laborious matter. Who sits where and with whom is a difficult task that requires numerous hours deep into the night in order to be done right.
By the time you read this, all of that should be done and we will be on our way. So here are a few notes to myself; I hope you do not mind the indulgence and distraction for a moment.
I did two things over the last few days. I went to the kids’ new apartment in order to arrange for some garbage to be removed. Once there, I asked my son about transferring the billing for electricity and gas to his name. He looked at me as if puzzled for a moment that you actually had to do these things. Granted, it is rather mundane and not filled with the panache associated with getting married, but it needs to be done, and someone needs to do it.
I spent about 20 minutes on the phone with the electric company. I asked them if the previous tenant had called to terminate service. They said that he did and that it was scheduled to be turned off the very next day. “OK,” I said to my son. “You see, it’s a good thing we called because otherwise you would walk into the apartment one night next week, flick the switch, and, well, nothing but darkness.”
After that lesson, we called National Grid about the gas service.
The next day I had to buy a few blank kesubos and tena’im documents. My wife reminded me to get those; you know, you cannot get married without them. It’s like a driver’s license, I guess — you really should not be driving without one. We always need a few because they are handwritten at the wedding and you never know when someone might make a mistake and you’ll need to pull out an extra.
Ah, yes, then there is the ring; it’s right here in my top desk drawer. Can’t forget that. Mazal tov.