Under the Canopy of Love

Standing under the Chuppah, with birds singing a symphony, surrounded by loving families and friends was a moment I shall savour for ever, and made even more poignant by the fact that our grandchildren were also with us, and our mothers too. But above all this wasn’t our day it was the wedding of our youngest son to a gorgeous bride and her wonderful family.

The emotions ran high.

Tears of joy and not a little relief, combined as our families were also merged together, two families sharing their children, our most treasured possessions, and sustaining a tradition that dates back throughout the generations.

Judaism is full of metaphors.

The Chuppah beneath which the families stand, represents both the protection of God, but also the home that the newly-wed couple will build together, hopefully bringing new life into the world. The glass that is broken underfoot is a reminder that even on the most joyous of times we must remember those who have yet to experience joy or have had their joyfulness taken away. The rings represent the circle of life, the wine a reminder of creation and Kiddush to be recited every Shabbat, something that is so precious for both families, and the walking around each other a sign of commitment and love.

But something else happened under that Chuppah in the midst of a beautiful garden in deepest Essex.

I made a prayer for myself.

Now that doesn’t sound overly strange or surprising, but in Judaism we don’t normally pray for ourselves; most of the prayers are in the third person plural: forgive us, bless us, remember us and so on, but under the Chuppah, closest to God, we are urged to make our own prayers for ourselves – and it was a precious moment that I shall always cherish.

My own prayer? Well, that remains something between myself and the Almighty.

And I just thought how much we must savour and share moments of joy in our lives, Eureka moments, where spirituality, joy and commitment are conjoined under the canopy of love.