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Women's Wisdom

Women's Wisdom

By Lisa Cook, EYAHT alumna

I have to admit that although I'm already twenty-eight years old, I have never been married. However, since starting out on my journey back to traditional Judaism some time ago, I have been fortunate enough to participate in many Jewish weddings in a variety of capacities, and can therefore state with certainty that… it's GREAT to be a kallah.[1] In fact, if I could select any role to play in the entire wedding production, 'kallah' would easily be my first choice.  

One need only attend the le'chaim (post-'announcement' toast), vort (engagement party), tichel party (lesser known frummy version of the bridal shower), Shabbat Kallah (action-packed bride-centred Shabbat preceding the wedding), the wedding itself (no explanation needed) and sheva brachot (seven nights of post-wedding food, drink and speeches honoring the happy couple) to see the benefits of being the kallah; not to be overlooked is the fact that once it's all over, she gets to take home… the chattan! [2]   To reiterate, whilst I'm yet to experience it for myself, it's clearly desirable to be the kallah. 

A role that I have played on more than one occasion is that of the kallah's shomeret.[3]  I can thus declare with even greater qualification that it's, well… very nice to be the shomeret. To start with, the role of shomeret is much better than that of bridesmaid – in the secular sense – because there are no mandatory puffy-sleeved pink dresses, high-tension 'bachelorette' nights or squabbles.  Sure - the wedding day can require some complex logistical work: Running errands, acting as a go-between for the two sides, making sure that Bubby is not left off the dance floor and the frequent shlepping of heavy objects are all in the job description - and not to be overlooked is the fact that once the wedding is over, the shomeret gets to take home… anything that has been left behind in the hall!

There is, moreover, so much real pleasure involved in being a shomeret. A true Jewish wedding is a wedding steeped in deep emotion, tradition and holiness; the laughter, tears of joy, prayer and constantly generated acts of kindness that accompany chattan and kallah to the chuppah and beyond, combine to weave a blanket of memories with which one's soul is warmed long after the last guest has gone home.   To be in such close proximity to the epicenter of such pure simcha is nothing short of an honor worthy of immense gratitude.

My advice to any would-be shomeret is as follows: Although the job may not be all 'glitz and glamour' (see above), it's all worth it because – as I've been informed at least one hundred times – being a shomeret is a segul [4] for getting married oneself!  And if that knowledge is not incentive enough for coveting the role, we should just keep in mind that when our own big day arrives, we too will want our best friends close-by for love and support – whatever that might entail.

[1] A title of honor bestowed upon a Jewish woman from the moment of her engagement until some months after her wedding.

[2] The Jewish term for 'groom'.

[3] The kallah's main helper, a role usually awarded to the kallah's closest unmarried friend.
[4] Good luck sign
Reprinted with the permission of 'The Princess Diaries.'