This weekend, I had the distinctive honor of seeing the first kallah (bride) I taught and mentored marry her best friend.
Serving as her kallah teacher sort of fell into being, and was a natural interaction for us both.
She had attended the wedding of her now brother and sister-in-law about six months before her wedding, and after seeing the joy and value add that kallah classes had in her SIL’s life, decided it was something she wanted for herself as well. So she asked me how she could find someone to learn with, who wouldn’t pressure her into being someone she isn’t. We had a moment and decided it would be a great fit for me to serve as her teacher. I know and love her, and am of the “whatever you do that is more than you were doing is fabulous” mentality.
We spent many afternoons eating frozen yogurt, wandering around bookstores, and shopping for wedding weekend clothing – all while talking about mikvah, taharat hamishpaca, and Jewish weddings. For the kallah it was critical that she understand the meaning behind all of the rituals she would be doing throughout the weekend, which gave me a great opportunity to have conversations about things I hadn’t really thought about in two years.
The kallah told me on Shabbat that she cried when she went to mikvah, and that made me cry. To be a part of such an intimate moment in another woman’s life is powerful beyond words. I know now that every time I immerse, she will be with me as I pray for my sisters worldwide. I was her guide on a journey to a spiritual space that she never imagined knowing, and will be forever marked by.
Throughout the weekend, I was being introduced as S’s kallah teacher, and each time I got a big smile on my face. As much as some family members were surprised or confused, I was honored. It was a great joy to be able to share in very broad terms the content of our classes and to have others see the very special bond it created between us. Though we had been friends going into this experience, we are bonded on a deeper level now for life.
We plan to continue learning and talking about how to make a Jewish home, and what rituals and observances are important. She and her husband are not very religious people, but they have very strong Jewish identities and are wanting to explore how that pans out for their future together. I look forward to this adventure, and am honored to have such a wonderful friend as my companion on it.
I hope to be able to write a more complete reflection soon, but just needed to share the excitement and energy while it was still fresh.