Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Present Tense

C. Rosenberg

Though gift-giving to every chassan and kallah has been a minhag since Eliezer loaded a camel with jewelry to bring to Rivkah, it can still become fraught.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

“Any day now, Ma. It really seems like it’ll be any day now.” My mother-in-law spends all day humming simchah songs — she’s even more excited than the soon-to-be chassan. I, though, am nervous. And part of that nervousness is due to her involvement. I hear her laugh through the phone line. “Remember, Ruthie, that I have a bracelet for the kallah. You remember how I went to Ta’s old friend from 47th Street and found this steal of a deal?” “Right.” Of course I remember. How could I forget that my super-wealthy, super-frugal mother-in-law spotted an amazing deal and bought a bracelet for my son’s kallah when my son was 16 years old! I turn to my husband and emit help signals. “Your mother thinks we’re giving the kallah that hopelessly outdated bracelet she picked up who-knows-where,” I tell him. He shrugs. “What’s the problem? Diamonds are diamonds. Gold is gold.” My husband must be the most hopeless of all men when it comes to jewelry. He doesn’t even know enough to ever buy me a piece. I wish his mother would know that. Scratch that. I don’t need her to know. But what do I do about my son’s kallah? She isn’t going to appreciate a hopelessly outdated bracelet. “First of all, the style is totally outdated — they’re putting more diamonds and chips now. And—” “So go buy her another bracelet.” “What am I supposed to tell your mother? She’s busy with this bracelet for years. She’s so proud of the ‘amazing deal’ that she got on it.” “So tell the kallah what’s going on. Tell the shadchan to tell her, tell her mother to tell her. Tell her that we’ll give Yehudah money to buy her a bracelet after they’re married.” What can you say to male logic? “I can’t do that to her. All her friends are going to come and ask to see her bracelet, and she’s going to be mortified if all she has to show is your mother’s bracelet.” “So give her two bracelets at the l’chayim. My mother will give her bracelet, and you’ll give her a new one.” “Do you know how weird that’s going to be? I don’t need her to think we’re nuts the day she gets engaged. I mean, this is her first gift… Besides, your mother will be terribly insulted.” He thinks for a minute. “I’ll tell Ma that I didn’t know about her bracelet, and I got one without checking in with you—” “And we’ll give the kallah two bracelets?” “Yeah.” “Your mother knows you. She knows you’d never buy jewelry without me.” “I’ll tell her a friend of mine offered me this steal of a deal, and I just went ahead…” At last, he’d hit the spot. I had to admit, my husband knows best how to talk to his mother. At the l’chayim, I allow my mother-in-law to present her gift — with all the fanfare it deserves. After my mother-in-law is seated (and oblivious to how well concealed the bracelet is beneath the kallah’s sleeve), I present the bracelet I bought. But this is only the beginning. 


To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
Not a Newspaper
Shoshana Friedman A deeper difference between newspapers and magazines
Services in Shards
Rabbi Moshe Grylak “Such a painful, malicious lie!”
The Pittsburgh Protests: All Politics All the Time
Yonoson Rosenblum The old rule — “no enemies on the left” — still applies
Danger: School Crossing
Eytan Kobre The hypocrisy of YAFFED’s assertion is breathtaking
Real Laughter and Real Tears
Rabbi Avrohom Neuberger The two sides of a life lived with emunah
Work/Life Solutions with Eli Langer
Moe Mernick I was proud to be “that guy with the yarmulke”
Is Ktchong! a Mitzvah? When Prayer and Charity Collide
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman These cannot both be done effectively at the same time
An Honest Shidduch
Jacob L. Freedman “Baruch Hashem I’m cured, and this will be my secret”
A Blessing in Disguise
Riki Goldstein “I never thought the song would catch on as it has”
Ishay and Motti Strike a Common Chord
Riki Goldstein Bringing together two worlds of Jewish music
What’s your favorite Motzaei Shabbos niggun?
Riki Goldstein From the holy and separate back to the mundane
Rightfully Mine
Faigy Peritzman Don’t regret the job you didn’t land; it was never yours
Growing Greener Grass
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Nurture your blessings and watch them blossom
My Way or the High Way
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt We know what we want — but do we know what He wants?