The Long-Awaited Sheva Brachot

The Long-Awaited Sheva Brachot

To be honest, cooking and hosting a crowd wasn’t exactly my druthers yesterday, 10 short days before Passover. But Deborah and Moshe, in addition to being a very special couple (for all the reasons I mentioned in my previous post about them) are also new olim with little family in Israel. So it wasn’t easy for them to find families to host their Sheva Brachot. One night, Deborah and Moshe had no choice but to order pizzas to a nearby yeshiva where Moshe knew a few guys, to put together a Sheva Brachot minyan there.
But after the fact, I’m so very happy that I hosted the Sheva Brachot at my home. In fact, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that this Sheva Brachot was one of the most uplifting and meaningful experiences of my life.
We’ve hosted Sheva Brachot quite a few times over the years, but this was the first time that we made Sheva Brachot for a couple that didn’t know so many people in Israel, so they needed help finding a minyan. There were about 7 Brazilian guests at the meal, including Deborah and Moshe, 4 men and 3 women, so I needed to find 6 more men.
The first two were easy. I recruited my husband, Josh, and my 16-year-old son Yoel.
4 left. I called a few neighbors, and found 4 willing to come to our home to eat a bit and join us for the Sheva Brachot minyan at 10 PM.
And when the time came, I sat in my living room looking at my guests and my minyan, and felt so deeply moved.
That I am part of a community. And that I have neighbors like this, that I can call and ask to come to help make a minyan, or whom I can approach with requests for help–some small, some big. And generally, they will help me and I will help them if we possibly can. I didn’t grow up with neighbors like that. And I feel so blessed that now I do.
And I also felt so grateful for my religious community, the Jewish people. For those holy words and traditions that we said and performed in honor of the marriage of this remarkable young couple.
And then I looked around the table, and thought about the members of the minyan.
The Sheva Brachot were led by Yedidya, the chazan of the “Converts’ Synagogue” in Sao Paulo. Yedidya’s sincere, honey-sweet voice added extra depth and holiness to the Deborah and Moshe’s beautiful chuppah.
Yisrael, also of Sao Paulo, is the kind-hearted and shy fiance of Deborah’s former roommate. He is also a lone combat soldier on the northern border, putting his life on the line to protect the Jewish homeland while his own family is thousands of miles away.
Moshe, the groom, grew up in a Moroccan family in Sao Paulo as the oldest of 3 sons. His father died a few years ago, meaning he had some very big shoes to fill even though he was still a very young man. And he’s embraced this heavy responsibility with dedication far beyond his years.
Yaakov, Deborah’s young cousin, read his blessing in fluent Hebrew. He is following in Deborah’s footsteps, learning about Judaism and connecting with his Jewish roots, B”H.
And now for the non-Brazilians, my wonderful neighbors:
Micha’el made aliya from France as a teenager, and now he and his wife, Yael, live beside me with their 6 children.
Doron made aliya from the UK with his wife, Dena, and now they live beside me with their 5 children.
Chaim was born in Tunisia, and has lived in Israel for over 30 years. When his first wife passed away, he married my neighbor, Miriam, whose first husband passed away erev Yom Kippur 7 years ago.
Moshiach is the son of Olim from Iran. He got married 4 years ago to Shirel, and now, b”H, they have 2 adorable little boys. Moshiach was our partner in our “Sandwiches for Soldiers” project, and as a result, he and Shirel have became dear friends.
I’m not usually a public speaker, but looking at this group assembled in my living room, I found myself quieting the lively crowd to tell them what was on my heart:
“May Hashem look down this moment at Moshe and Devorah who have given up comfortable lives in Brazil to live a life of Torah and Mitzvot in the Holy Land. And may Hashem see the rest of you sitting around this table, who have come from around the world to live as Jews in Israel. In the merit of this couple and everyone here, may Hashem protect our soldiers, heal the injured, bring home the hostages and bring peace to Israel, protecting us from threats from within as well as beyond our borders.”
And the Brazilians (the Jewish-born and the Jews-by-Choice), and the Frenchman, and the Tunisian, and the Englishman and the Persian and the Canadian (Josh) and the Israeli (Yoel) said (as this American’s eyes filled with tears) “AMEN!”



  2. So moving. Thank you again for noticing the huge things that I have begun to take for granted.

    A word about sheva brachot – it is not an obligation to make sheva brachot every day. If there are 10 people, we say sheva brachot. If not, then not. I feel bad that this special chatan and kallah felt they had not choice but to order pizzas to a nearby yeshiva. It is perfectly acceptable for a chatan and kallah to spend a quiet meal by themselves during the week of sheva brachot.
    It seems that unnecessary stress is place upon the couple and families to “fill up” every night.
    By the way – the 7 of sheva brachot refers to the number of brachot we say, not the number of days (which happens also to be 7).

  3. Beautiful -call us too if you need:) in the future

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