Well, I'm Off - With Mixed Emotions
It's interesting, about in-laws. I hear such horror stories about very functional people marrying into dysfuncional families. I have very good friends whose son married a great girl with a dysfunctional mother. This girl, having met us just once for a short time at our friends' house, already invited us to stay with them while we're in Israel.
Now, we're not talking about your average dysfunction, where you are mildly depressed, bicker with your better half, or have a syndrome, such as OCD or even agoraphobia. We're talking dysfunction, bigtime, where the mother of the bride refuses to talk to the mother of the groom, doesn't notify her of family events that she would want to attend, and tells her daughter not to talk to her mother-in-law (but the bride told her new husband, and he gave his machatena a piece of his mind. Good for him. And especially good for his wife.)
My friend related to me an incident that happened at the wedding; after getting the distinct impression that they-the chatan's parents-weren't even welcome there, a family member of the opposition (they sure conducted themselves like the enemy; don't worry-my friends did attend) got up at the dinner and from the dais announced that the wedding was entirely paid for by the mother of the bride, and specifically mentioned the groom's parents' names as NOT having put in one red cent.
Talk about chutzpah (my friends wanted to be involved-they offered; their offers weren't even addressed, because the other side wanted complete control over everything). Just so you know, these friends of ours are the biggest chesed doers and best friends a person could ever want.
In contrast, we ourselves, although we cannot afford to contribute to this wedding at this time - we are actually making this trip on financial fumes: frequent flyer points, credit card points, Matmid (you El Al aficionados know what I mean) points here, and (thank G-d we're old. er.) senior discounts there (I think some people call it "robbing Peter to pay Paul" or something like that) - when we get there, are staying with the kallah's family (as well as friends), who are mamash neshamot: the epitomy of chesed, like my friends here. They are bending over backwards and going out of their way to make us feel welcome and comfortable, and part of the mishpachah. Our new future in-laws epitomize mitvot ben adam le-chavero.
That is why I am preparing for my trip with mixed emotions. On the one hand, I am so happy that my son found such wonderful people, may they be for a blessing--but I feel guilty that I cannot do more on my part.
Well, I do believe in mitzvah gedola li-hiyot be-simcha, so right now I'm gonna go work out on the bike to work out the guilt. . . hey, wait a minute--I could also look at it this way: I am doing my part - for what's a Jewish mother without guilt?!
(to contact me in Israel, email me. And wish me a nesiyah tovah. . . )
(uh, somehow I don't think my son's wedding is going to be like that one. . . )
Meshaneh makom, meshaneh mazal: a proverb meaning 'he who changes his dwelling/place changes his luck.'
Shailah: A question, asked of a Rabbi, on Jewish law or custom.
Machatena: yiddishized Hebrew for 'mother-in-law.'
Chutzpah: oh come one, everyone knows what that is.
Matmid: literally, 'diligent.' El-Al's term for frequent flyer.
Neshamot: literally, 'souls,' meaning wonderful people.
Mitzvot bein Adam le-chavero: Mitzvas between man and man (how a person behaves towards his fellow man).
Mitzvah gedola li-hiyot be-simcha: An expression, "it is a mitzvah (commandment, good deed) to be happy."
Nesiyah tovah: 'bon voyage.'