matt & claire

30 May

Lauren’s* Wedding Charge:

For those of you who did not read Matt and Claire’s meticulously created and beautiful website, you are missing out. For those of you that have,  I am the Lauren who repeatedly introduced Claire and Matt.

Matt and I are “second generation” friends; meaning, we go so “way back” that our moms began their friendship during college. Claire and I met in rabbinical school, where we bonded by passing copious notes back and forth to one another. (In a style a little less like university students and a little more like high school.)

When you first chose to get together, I spoke a few choice words to each of you: “If you do this, you can never break up. It will totally mess up my life.” I am elated not only that you followed my advice,  but that the two of you have flourished as a couple.

As you enter into this sacred relationship, we look to the very first relationship in Jewish tradition: Adam and Eve. The rabbis tell the following story about their experience:

From the day that Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden, they lived together, tilling the earth, raising children, and struggling to stay alive. After many years of toil, when their children were grown, Adam and Eve decided to take a journey before it was too late and see the rest of the world. They traveled together from one corner of the earth to the other and explored all the world’s wonders. They stood upon the great mountains, trekked across the vast deserts, walked amid the mighty forests, and traversed the magnificent seas. They watched the sun rise over the endless wilderness and they saw it set into the boundless ocean. They beheld it all.

In the course of their journey, they came upon a place that seemed familiar: the Garden of Eden, from which they had been exiled on the very first day of their lives. But the Garden was locked and barred.

Suddenly, they heard a voice, gentle and imploring. It called: “My children, you have lived in exile these many, many years. Your punishment is complete. Come now; you may return to My Garden.”

Before their eyes, the locks disappeared and the gates swung open. But Adam hesitated.  He asked “It has been so many years since we lived there; remind me again what it is like in the garden?”

The response came: “The Garden is Paradise! There is no work; you need never toil or struggle again. There is no pain or suffering; there is no death. In the garden, there is no time – no yesterdays, no tomorrows, only endless today.”

Adam and Eve thought about a life with no work,  and no struggle.  No pain and no passage of time. And no death. An endless life of ease, with no tomorrow and no yesterday.

They looked at one another and saw the person with whom they had struggled to make a life and to take bread from the earth. To raise children, and to build a home. They read the lines of each other’s faces, all of the tragedies they had surmounted, and all of the joys they had cherished together. They saw in each other’s eyes all of the laughter, and all of the tears they had shared.

“No, thank You,” they said. They took one another’s hand, and Adam and Eve turned their backs on the Garden, to return home, to the paradise that they had created together.

Life is not perfect or even easy; you will face obstacles both great and small when trying to create a meaningful life for each other – building a safe, secure home, raising children, and bringing bread from the earth (or in Claire’s case, more like trying to bring bread from xanthan gum and tapioca flour).  Nonetheless your existence will be made more beautiful by the joys and challenges that you will face together.

It is my joy to offer you this blessing:

Our God and the God of our fathers and mothers, bestow blessings upon Claire and Matt as they unite their lives. Help them to thrive together. Teach them to share life’s joys and trials, and to grow in understanding and devotion. May love and companionship always abide within their home. May they grow together in health and contentment, ever grateful for this sacred union in their lives.

*You’ve all heard of Lauren before.  (If you haven’t, you really should.)  She’s the sister of my best friend and, truly, I think of her like my sister as well.  Lauren, thank you for creating (with Ben’s input) the ideal wedding charge for this pair of newlyweds who genuinely are perfect for one another.  And, for my part, rather selfishly, thank you for bringing them into my life and making me a part of their’s as well.  I love their friendship tremendously, and I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to celebrate their union with all their family (a very broad definition of such).

Lauren & Alon.


3 Responses to “matt & claire”

  1. Lauren Ben-Shoshan June 1, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

    Aww, Anna! So super sweet 🙂
    Love you and John too!!

    • annaojesus June 1, 2011 at 11:57 pm #

      Thanks, Lauren! Gosh, I miss you already! Thanks for letting me use your writing–no one could have said it better 🙂


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