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A Whole Song and Dance

Rabbi Ron Yitzchak Eisenman

One of those small acts that are giant leaps of chesed

Wednesday, March 20, 2019


t was the day of my daughter’s chasunah.

I know I was there. However, I cannot remember who else was there. There were envelopes being placed in my hand, which had to end up in my inside pocket. After an hour of receiving envelopes and depositing them automatically and robotically in my inner pocket, I was roused to consciousness by my brother when he asked me, “Why did you just put the mini-eggroll I gave you in your inside pocket?”

The chuppah was a blur of memory; was I really the mesader kiddushin? Was my daughter really married?

The dancing appeared to me like a hazy maze of men moving rapidly in concentric circles as people continued to place envelopes (but no more eggrolls) in my hand. And although most of the chasunah remains a warm, blurry reminiscence, there is one event from that night that will remain etched in my memory forever.

Two of my granddaughters from Eretz Yisrael — Shira, ten, and Huvi, six — flew in with their fathers for the chasunah.

The girls were so excited to be there. They had even choreographed a special dance with movements and pompoms that they planned to perform in front of the kallah. They had practiced the well-choreographed dance dozens of times. The girls were “pumped” and waiting and ready to make their dance debut at the chasunah.

Before the wedding, the girls conveyed a message to the keyboard player that at a certain point he should play a certain song, which would be their cue to perform their dance. The two of them giggled away during the first dance as they went off to the side to practice one more time. Everything seemed to be going perfectly. That is until six-year-old Huvi reached her limits and before the second dance even began, fell into a deep sleep.

Shira was crushed. All the hours they had spent practicing for this one big moment were for naught. It was almost as if the sole purpose of their entire trip to America was to dance together in front of the kallah.

As Huvi slept soundly on a couch, Shira sat by herself, inconsolable, as all of the adults were busy doing adult things.

Then Tante Temi walked by and noticed what no one else saw, a sad little girl in the corner of the lobby.

Tante Temi went over to Shira and asked, “What’s wrong?” Shira disappointedly related to Tante Temi the story of the long-anticipated dance that now wouldn’t happen.

Tante Temi thought for a moment and said, “Shira, I have an idea. I haven’t danced in front of the kallah yet. Can you teach me the steps? I’ll use Huvi’s pompoms and we can put on this dance together.”

Shira’s face lit up. “You would really do that? You would do the dance with me?”

“It would be my favorite thing to do and it would be so much fun to dance with you,” Tante Temi replied enthusiastically.

Quickly, Shira taught Tante Temi the dance.

Five minutes later the keyboard player began “their song,” and suddenly Shira and Temi appeared before the kallah, dancing in step and waving their pompoms. They were in sync for all the movements and ended the dance with a heartfelt cheer for the kallah.

It was one of those precious moments you can never forget.

It was one of those small acts that in reality are giant leaps of chesed.

There were many talented dancers at the wedding and more than a few people did shtick. There were spirited steps and leibedig leaps.

However, no dance was as beautiful and as meaningful as when Tante Temi took a forlorn ten-year-old girl and transformed her into a radiant, joyful dancer.

(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 753)

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