Once there was a son past the age of 18, who got set up with a girl from a Yemenite family. He didn't like her but sometimes felt he should go ahead and marry her, and sometimes felt that was a stupid idea. Like many young people he thought he had time to decide.
The girl's family invited the son to their home for Shabbat, and this meant he didn't have to travel three hours from the army base to his parents' home in the Negev. He thought, why not? It's fine to be a guest!
After some time, the son's parents received an invitation from the girl's parents to an engagement party at their home. What could they do but go? They traveled three hours by bus and by train and arrived at the house. The table was set for both sets of parents, the son and the daughter, with nice china and white napkins, and the daughter's brothers and sisters were sent to their bedrooms.
After exchanging gifts of glass serving bowls, the parents broke bread and dined on roast chicken with coriander.
At last the girl's father asked, reasonably, in Hebrew, how much can you give for the wedding?
And the son's stepfather answered, without guile, in simple English, nothing.
The daughter gasped and covered her face.
People find ways of smoothing over embarrassing statements. The son's mother stroked the girl's hand. The girl's mother said that guests at the wedding will bring checks.
The son asked advice: should he get married or not? Some said yes and some said no. The rosh yeshivah stepped in for pre-marriage counseling.The girl cried and the son tried to make her feel better.
The only way to do that was to pick out a hall and make a deposit.
It was getting close to the date, so they found an apartment and made a deposit.
Then they met with a caterer and made a deposit.
The day of the henna arrived. All the girl's neighbors baked cakes and brought candies, drums, candles, henna-mud, and an outlandish golden headdress with a matching golden outfit for the son. People danced and blessed the girl, but the son did not arrive.
The son's mother was brought in to bless the bride. Everyone hushed up to hear what she said.
And the mother didn't know what to say, but had to say something. So she paraphrased something she had heard from a Rabbi Nachman lesson:
When it's not a good day, then LOOK.
A person might guess that the day of the wedding was not a good day.
The bride arrived in her special dress, and the guests arrived at the wedding hall, and the son did not arrive.
A person might say that this son by not showing up made a tikkun for his mother, who ended up divorcing his father after ten years of marriage and five children, having felt from the start that she didn't like him enough to get married. And all the usual things happened: The engagement party, the wedding hall, the caterer, the apartment, and the guests arriving from overseas.
So what do you say? Who made a tikkun for whom? And where is the good in all this? Stay tuned.