Yesterday, my husband and I wed again according to Jewish law and Lubavitch customs. It was a beautiful ceremony, full of meaning and a very emotional time for us and our family. My daughter cried openly and there were tears shed by my husband’s family and even our community as they helped us celebrate this momentous occasion, which for us really felt like the culmination of so many years.
One of the most poignant customs we observed in our wedding was an opaque veil covering the bride’s face for the chuppah, which is the part of the ceremony that is most important. My husband came from the men’s room to the women’s room escorted by family and community men with song. When he came to me, he covered my face with the veil and from there until the end of the ceremony, I was enclosed within it, unable to see, guided by my mother in law and a woman from our community and left in my own world.
I was thankful for the veil. I felt like it protected me in that time and allowed me to turn inward rather than being focused on everything outside of me. I was able to whisper my own prayers for us and our family even as the ceremony continued according to law and custom. I had my own world to be safe in as I circled my husband, led by parents and elders, only seeing his feet. I had my privacy as he placed a gold ring on my index finger and our ketuba (marriage contract) was read. I really felt our marriage renewed and our family completed.
Throughout my life, I’ve been given many rings for many different reasons. For some reason, I’ve never felt comfortable with a ring on my finger. I would constantly bang it into things and it would feel awkward. So, I never wore rings. I felt guilty that I didn’t, but none ever seemed to fit my fingers right.
My ring is a simple small band of gold. It is smooth and beautiful and fits perfectly. I am happy and proud to wear it. I also never liked yellow gold…until now. Now I stop each time I wash netilyas yadiim, smiling as I take it off to wash, as I have watched countless other women do.
This ring…fits me.
As I continue to try to bring some order to our new home, unpacking boxes and preparing for the upcoming school year, I feel like all of this fits so well. I even find myself feeling as if the years we spent getting here were all just a dream, a crazy dream where we lived in Alaska for five years and worked hard trying to become Jewish. Now, it feels almost as if we always have been and I just woke up from some odd dream where we weren’t.
Everything fits, finally.