Before I begin, I would like to explain, for those who are unfamiliar with the term, what sheva brachot are.
In a traditional Jewish wedding, when the excited bride and groom stand under their chuppah/canopy of flowers, tulle, satin, lucite or a combination of the four (or an entirely different combination — every bride has her own taste and unique vision), they are blessed with seven different blessings. In Hebrew, that’s sheva brachot. These blessing are read by people chosen by the families — rabbis, relatives, friends, etc.
I truly believe that these blessings should be updated to keep up with modern times and social media, but it doesn’t seem like that is going to happen any time soon, so we will have to revisit that in a later column.
After the magnificent wedding is over, the seven blessing are said with the grace after the meal portion of the evening. And then, for seven nights post wedding, the bride and groom are the guests of honor at a festive meal hosted by friends or family. And wouldn’t you know it, the seven blessings are said at each of the sheva brachot meals. Gee, seems that there is something significant about the number 7….
Alrighty then. I will include that information in part two of this column.
When my friend told me that her daughter was getting engaged, I told her that I wanted to make a sheva brachot. And just like that, I was given the name of the point person. Yes, just like every organization, every high-level company, every union…even sheva brachot needs a point person. A person to keep everyone in line. I was ready to report for duty. (And I was just so excited to be a part of something as I rarely leave my house.)
Before I knew it, I received a watsapp from the point person. There were seven or eight other people in the group. My first thought was, “What did we do before watsapp groups?”
In the olden days there were phone calls. You would have to call each person individually. And then, with technology, you could do three-way calling or a, gasp, conference call! Wow, have we come far. This initial watsapp was to have an “introductory” meeting to discuss the discussion for the sheva brachot. The “dinging” of the phones began. When you have eight mothers, with eight different schedules, how are you supposed to come up with a time to meet, exactly?
DING-My kids bus comes at 815
DING-My kids are out of the house by 730
DING-My kid has a science project that I have to drive to school, won’t be home till 845
DING-I work that day
And yet, after all of the three day yom tovs, which means that between the eight of us, our families probably devoured a farm’s worth of chickens and cows (apologies to the vegan/vegetarians), we all came together one morning (well, almost all of us, some signed proxies giving others permission to represent them at the meeting — I am kidding, no one did that. At least not that I know of.) We came together to get this party started.
Full disclosure, I was not a part of the sheva brachot that this group made before. They were a well-oiled machine and I was the new one. What does this mean? I sat there and smiled and said yes to every decision and volunteered to do whatever they wanted me to do (and even what they didn’t want me to do, because that is how I get in trouble. Hence, this column, which, hopefully, will not get me in trouble). As a middle child, I am all about making sure everyone gets along, though I am hardly successful at this. Middle children just want everyone to be happy, and planning sheva brachot are no exception. So menus were made, colors were discussed, beverages, paper goods, you name it, this crew covered it. We also came up with resolutions for the problems with the Iran deal, the Russia election scandal, and the Mahwah eruv controversy.
DING-How many people are coming?
DING-I thought we said 30?
DING-I only have 24
DING- Who has the list of responses?
DING-OK we have 28
DING-I only made 25 challah rolls
DING-Are any of them gluten free?
DING DING DING.
Good thing there was a cardiologist married to one of the women making sheva brachot, in case any of us felt faint from the pressure to make sure everything went smoothly. And, thank God, everything was beautiful. The food was delicious, the tablecloths matched the plates, and those who were gluten free had what to eat as well. But in the end, all that really matters? The bride and groom should be blessed with a wonderful life.
DING…onto the next watsapp group!
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck received permission from the sheva brachot group to write this column. They are a lovely group of women and she hopes they are still speaking to her after reading this.