Wedding Words for J & J

We have gathered together this evening to celebrate the love of Jesse and Jenny, and to witness their coming together in marriage. 

I am honoured to be invited to share in this special day and tobe officiating at this ceremony as Jenny and Jesse affirm their love amidst their friends and family, and before God. I know that they would like to thank all of you for sharing in this occasion, as your presence truly enhances their joy on this special and sacred day. 

Jenny & Jesse, just as this wedding canopy is surrounded by those that you love, so too may your future home be a gathering place for family and friends; just as under this chuppahyou affirm your love for one another, so too may your home be a place  where your love is affirmed daily.  Our biblical ancestors, Abraham and Sarah, lived in a tent that was open on all four sides, so that strangers and loved-ones alike would be welcome. May the home that you build together also be a place of welcoming, warmth and acceptance. 

In some ways, Jesse and Jenny’s story is one of love at first sight. Both of them experienced a sense of immediate attraction. For Jenny, it was when she first saw a picture of Jesse, and for Jesse, it was the first time that he met Jenny, and knew in that moment that one day he would marry her. 

In other ways, Jenny and Jesse’s story is one of a relationship built over time; one that started as a friendship; one that began 10 years ago and has brought us to today.

A 10 year journey of love might start with physical attraction, but there’s a lot more to it, as both Jesse and Jenny know. Jenny is attracted to Jesse’s brains as well as his beauty. She loves that he is smart and knows a lot about a wide range of things.

Jesse also loves that Jenny is smart, and he admires her work ethic. “She tries really hard,” he told me, “and she’s the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen.”

In 10 years of being together, Jenny and Jesse have already experienced many of life’s ups and downs. “There’s nothing that we haven’t been through, and there’s nothing that hasn’t tested us,” Jesse told me. “We’re both committed, we’re both 100% in to it, and there’s absolutely nothing that can get in the way.”

Jenny adds that 10 years has given them plenty of time to get to know each other extremely well. “It’s nice to be able to have a partner that you can confide in,” she told me. “There’s nothing that’s off limits. I’m completely comfortable talking to him about anything. We’re very open and honest with each other and we’re on the same page with a lot of stuff.”

Jesse and Jenny share a love of good food and good fun. They both especially love sports and being outdoors together, and they love to shop together – or rather, they love to drive to the mall together, and then shop separately.

After 10 years of being together, it’s likely that being married won’t change much about day-to-day life. But for Jenny and Jesse, today marks a special opportunity for them to stand up in front of family and friends and make a commitment to one another.

Jesse and Jenny, I know that you both feel that after today you will be more solidified as a couple, and that you hope that this ceremony will validate the seriousness of your relationship in the eyes of your family and friends.

I think that this day, too, marks a new phase of your relationship. Over these 10 years, you have grown from college students to fully realised adults – a journey you have taken as a couple, witnessing one another’s growth while also growing together. In getting married today, you are not only making a statement about the validity of your relationship, but you are also making a statement about your future. You are stating that you are ready for the next steps, for building a home and a family together, for making a commitment to participating in the Jewish community together, for ageing together, and weathering more of life’s ups and downs together.

Ten years feels like a long time from the perspective of those of us who are still in the early stages of adulthood, but in truth, it is only a small fraction of the life that you are beginning together today.

The great rabbi Maimonides taught that there were three different categories of friendship within a marriage: The first is chaver l’davar, meaning someone to do things with; someone to share the minutiae of day to day life with. The second category is chaver l’da-agah, meaning a friend to worry with; someone with whom to share the sorrows and joys of life. And the third category is chaver l’deiaha friend to share ideas with; someone to share goals and commitments with, someone with whom you can realize your dreams.

Jesse and Jenny, the past 10 years have proven that you exemplify the first two types of friendship, and Maimonides taught that indeed, most marriages include the first and second types of friendship. But couples who are truly reim ahuvim, beloved friends, are the ones who attain that third level – not only sharing day-to-day life together, and not only sharing the highs and lows of life together, but also sharing dreams together and spending life working together to make them come true.

May this sacred day,  your wedding-day, mark an end of one journey and the beginning of another; May it be validation of all that has come before, and a foundation of all that is yet to come, and may it be only the first of many dreams that together, you will make come true.

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