I was, I must admit, surprised to see so many hits, messages and feedback on my recent post about Prince Charming, because I thought that what girls talk about behind the closed doors does not generally reflect their wider opinion. For example, one of my friends may be left by a guy and without necessarily any further discussion on what happened, we would unify against him telling her what kind of a pig, a rat, or another unflattering, non-kosher animal he is or deserves to be. Then slowly as we took on ourselves the need to make him look as bad as possible, she had a chance to see things in a different light, telling us that perhaps he was only half a rat, half a pig… and that’s usually a very good start in dealing with a break-up and moving on. We would, however refrain from calling him all these names in public.
But, not all relationships end up in break-ups, divorces, negative influences and all these things that people dread when they think of entering into one. Some women I personally know, including me, told me that they do not even really want to try because they are too afraid that things will end up badly. I guess if one doesn’t try, one doesn’t know, but I can’t blame anyone for thinking that – it takes a long time to heal and let someone in.
Therefore, to my surprise (I must admit I never follow what programs our group is about to have) I was a part of a simulated, Mizrahi/Sephardi wedding ceremony. At least parts of it. The chosen couple entered the hall dressed in traditional wedding clothes (though I am used to chatan and kala dressed in white reflecting the journey through their personal Yom Kippur before the kiddushin), sat down surrounded by everyone, dancing, rejoicing and painting a circle of henna on everyone’s palms. I think the most profound thing was to learn what the henna on bride’s hands and legs symbolises. The meaning had escaped me till last night. The letters of the words ‘chinna’ stand for Challah (the baking of the challah for Shabbat), Niddah (the observance of the laws of family purity) and Hadlakat ha’Nerot (the lighting of the candles for Shabbat and Yom Tov). These are generally the three mitzvot that women have an obligation to observe and so far, personally, observing two out of three has been a very personal, spiritual and fulfilling experience.
Of course, there had to be food so we were served baklava and cakes, which made me think about acquired calories with every bite I took, but were slightly too delicious to say ‘no’ to.
So what has changed between the rant and the wedding? Hard to say. I guess probably this is why I fell in love. I fell in love unconditionally, hopelessly with both of my feet firmly grounded in each side of me, the one that rants and the one, which allows the emotions to fly. Why did I fall in love? I guess, why not? If I am able to rationalise everything I should be probably able to let go off things every now and then. Over a beer that tasted like Bartenura, I heard the other day that we are all ‘whores’. I immediately agreed, remembering the sign on one of the shops I saw in Camden Town before leaving London.
Yes, we are. I am. We are hopeless about things we want, ready to sacrifice everything, addicted to things we get a ‘kick’ from. We fall in love with things, with people. We fall in love with feelings. Even with our imaginations.
Have I stumbled upon my Prince Charming? Have I become a ‘junkie’?
Yes, I have.
I realise it every time I travel between Israeli cities. Every single one of them has a different vibe. I realise it when I board a bus from Jerusalem to Beersheva noticing that I don’t have enough money for the ticket and then when attempting to leave, I get stopped by the driver who enters a different destination matching the amount of money in my wallet to make sure that I get home safe. When I hear a disco remix version of ‘Im eshkachech Yerushalayim’ on the radio. When I end up sitting with my legs on top of someone else’s bag to make sure people can sit between seats. When I speak with my mum on the phone and the only person looking strangely at me is one Russian lady. When I get introduced to people with an intention to confuse them with my origins. When I leave the bus and try to reclaim my bag only to notice that it has been pushed as far as possibly with bags belonging to soldiers, each bag almost matching me in size and weight. When I start pulling them to reach my tiny luggage and then joined by one of the female soldiers trying to put all of them back in. When on my way home I can grab any Magnum without checking where it was manufactured to ensure that it is kosher to eat. When I meet a friend, whom I had just thought about, randomly on the streets of Jerusalem. When I dig into my favourite salad in Tel Aviv. When I dig into my favourite gluten free chocolate fudge cake. When every time I finally see the sea again I thank Hashem for making it. Waiting to see my family, seeing my friends, waiting to see other friends, supporting people that need support, being supported by others, visiting the kotel, being asked if I carry a weapon by any chance, the red thread on my wrist that refuses to break since I first visited the kotel after my landing in August, having my views challenged… My Prince Charming is a sabra. He is tough, prickly on the outside and fragmented on the inside. I guess I fell in love with both hard and soft parts. I gave in. I never want to leave.