Say Little, Do Much: Weddings
By RABBI JOSEPH H. PROUSER
This Shabbat, as we read in Parshat Bemidbar of the People Israel’s tribal princes, much of the world’s attention will be riveted to the royal wedding of Britain’s Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle. The royal couple’s wedding day is also Erev Shavuot.
As Harry and Meghan celebrate their shared life and love, Jews will be marking Zman Matan Torateinu, the Festival commemorating God’s loving gift of the Torah. Some, especially Sephardi congregations, celebrate Shavuot in part by the reading of a “Ketubah” – a wedding document memorializing the covenantal bond between God and Israel. In certain versions of this Ketubah, God (“the Prince of princes, the Ruler of rulers”) is the Father of the Bride – the Torah – giving her in marriage to the Jewish People.
The dowry includes the Bible, the Talmud, and their constantly unfolding exposition. Heaven and Earth serve as witnesses. The Jewish People declare their assent to the match: Na’aseh v’Nishma – “We shall do and we shall hear” (Exodus 24:7).
With this weekend’s confluence of nuptial events, there is ample reason for joy and celebration. May the words of Jeremiah 2:2 be fulfilled in all who celebrate Covenantal Bonds this Shavuot: “I will remember always the devotion of our youth, the love of our betrothal.”
(Rabbi Joseph H. Prouser is the rabbi of Temple Emanuel of North Jersey and the National Chaplain of the National Jewish Committee on Scouting.)