Our Amazing Trip to Israel – Part 5

We knew we were getting close to the wedding hall when we heard the thunderous singing and stomping. The entire wedding took place under an enormous tent!! As we pulled up, the tent was aglow with throbbing simcha, and its walls seemed to pulsate with the beat of the music!

We were totally geared up to explode into the tent! So we pulled right up to the tent’s entrance, lowered the van’s ramp, and I blew out of the van! One of my close friends grabbed the oxygen tank, and he desperately ran behind me! I was literally mobbed by family and friends, and they pulled me right into the Badeken Hall!

The sea of people split, and I, together with my entourage, raced up to the kallah! Her father was just finishing his blessing for her, and then, people all around motioned to me to step up and bless my niece!

With tears pouring down my face (and I imagine down the faces of many others) words of blessing and hope poured out of my lips! As I cried out these words, my niece’s head was bowed.

Next stop – the Chupa (wedding canopy)! They had set up 2 separate ramps to reach the elevated Chupa. Each ramp was angled at a very steep slope, and I needed 2 guys behind me to push, as I drove up at full speed.

Now, for some background. Before I got sick with pneumonia, my sister (mother of the bride) asked me to recite the 7th blessing of the Sheva Brachrot (7 blessings are recited over a cup of wine on each of the 7 days following a Jewish wedding). This particular blessing is commonly referred to, as the “singing Bracha (blessing)”. This is because a cantor is often chosen to chant/sing this blessing. If no cantor is present, a close relative or friend with a beautiful voice is honored with this blessing. It is considered a great honor to receive this bracha.

I, however, deferred to someone with a sweet singing voice. You see, this is been a source of frustration for me, because before the accident, I loved to sing at joyous occasions, and around the Shabbat table. Of course, this love of mine was lost with the onset of my paralysis. I no longer have sufficient lung capacity to produce the rise and fall of a melody. So I rely others to carry the tune, and I try to keep up..Somewhat similar to my life in general.

However, my sister countered that all I’d need to do, was to start off singing at my own pace, and the massive crowd would accompany me.

Ha Ha, funny joke! I could just imagine starting off, and the crowd being so stunned as to be speechless! I pictured in my mind standing up, in front of nearly 600 people, and ending up reciting instead of singing…..

Another brother-in-law of mine offered to assist by singing the Bracha quietly and I would follow along. I declined – either I would do it myself, or I wouldn’t do it at all.

We hadn’t finalized before I was admitted to the hospital, so I assumed that my sister would give me one of the shorter brachot – especially considering that I still had pneumonia, and I was coming straight from the hospital!

However, as I sat there, enjoying each Bracha going by, one by one, I was stunned when they called ME up for the final Bracha!

Apparently, even when we’re confronted by something difficult, we can step up to the plate, if we have the right motivation!In this case, my motivation was not disappointing all the people who were counting on me. So it’s all about finding the right motivation to push you through the moment!

In the end, without any hesitation, I drove up to face the bride and groom. Someone held up the cup of wine, a second person put a card with the words in front of my face, and a third person put a microphone inches from my mouth.

I struggled to sing the first phrase, and there was SILENCE from the crowd, I continued on to the second phrase….utter silence!!!

Suddenly, the band picked up the cue, and started to play rousing music!

That’s all the crowd needed – the place erupted with blasting singing and clapping! Of course, it didn’t hurt that I had a powerful microphone against my lips! It was truly a memorable moment!!

There was enough oxygen in my tank for 3 hours. So I stayed and danced up a storm!

It was humorous to see the guy carrying the oxygen tank behind me – if I stopped too short, he would crash into me. And if I drove too quickly, the oxygen cord would yank my head backwards!!

And there’s another lesson for you. There must be complete unity and cooperation in order to achieve success in any endeavor. One person must not advance quicker than their partner, nor may they advance any slower. Think TEAMWORK, TEAMWORK, TEAMWORK – and you’ll never go wrong!!!


  1. Micah Shotkin · · Reply

    wow! what a chizuk. I miss you brother and hope to come visit soon.

    1. I miss you a ton and I really hope that we could see each other very soon!.

  2. Thank You Rabbi Simes!

    1. And YOU for all that you do! We enjoyed Chana’s visit with us this afternoon! She’s a terrific girl! And I also thank you for R’ Zisha helping me with tefillin on Fridays! Your family has always been an inspiration for me!!

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