When I sent out a message sharing the news of my son’s engagement, I was inundated with requests for pictures of the young couple. People love to see the glowing chosson and kallah, grinning from ear to ear. When boys propose in public places, even strangers who are lucky enough to be within earshot are charmed as they get caught up in the simchah that’s totally contagious. A smile can be seen on the faces of the spectators who can’t help themselves and stand around and watch, often applauding when the girl (hopefully) says “yes.” This fascination with the couple continues throughout the engagement, and those who meet them take pleasure in adding to the joy of the already blissful couple.
When my husband and I were engaged, we flew from New York down to Florida to visit his parents. Unfortunately, we did not arrive at the airport early enough to be assigned seats next to each other. We explained to the attendant at the check-in counter that we were engaged and we would really like to sit together. He assured us that he would do what he could to find us seats near each other. He typed away at his computer, handed us our boarding passes, wished us a safe flight, and sent us on our way. Taking a quick glance at our boarding passes, we noticed that our seats were indeed next to each other, but it wasn’t until we boarded the plane that we realized that he had bumped us up to first class. What a pleasant surprise! Celeste, the first-class stewardess, cheerfully introduced herself to us and told us not to hesitate to let her know if we needed anything at all during the flight. She was there to serve us. The flight down to Florida is not all that long, but we did get to enjoy being pampered in a way that we had never experienced. We had never even realized until then that there were passengers who ate on real dishes rather than the disposable sectional trays and cutlery we were used to. Even though we couldn’t use the dishes for our kosher food, it was quite interesting to see how the other half lives.
Last week I spent a lovely afternoon with my son and his kallah. I took them out to eat before taking them to choose candlesticks. The engagement ring that my son had ordered from a jeweler here in Ramat Beit Shemesh was ready, so I brought it with me when I met them. It was a beautiful day, and we sat in the outdoor area of the café. I discreetly excused myself so that my son and his kallah could have some privacy when he gave her the ring. I went to the indoor area of the café, and as I twiddled my thumbs, the waiter approached me and asked if I needed something. I explained that everything was fine and that I was just trying to give my son and his kallah some space when he presented her with her engagement ring. The waiter got all excited and peeked out the window just in time to watch the show. He then shared the news with the big boss, who immediately jumped on the bandwagon. My guess is that this sort of thing is not a frequent occurrence, if ever, at this particular café. It’s at the end of a strip mall in an industrial area - quaint, but not too high on the ambience scale. When the food arrived, I reclaimed my seat just as the waitress was placing three deluxe ice coffees topped with whip cream on the table in celebration of what had just transpired, one for each of us. Of course, the drinks were on the house. This unexpected gift made the chosson and kallah very happy and gave the workers such a good feeling as well.
After lunch we made our way to the silver store. As soon as we walked in, the owner realized that he was going to be dealing with a chosson and kallah and immediately broke into a powerful rendition of “Siman tov u’mazal tov.” He then proceeded to give them an effusive heartfelt brachah for a long life filled with marital happiness and all good things. Only after this warm, enthusiastic, and welcoming reception, did we get involved in the matter at hand. The storeowner was helpful and not at all pushy when presenting the options. I would highly recommend his services for anyone looking for silver in the Yerushalayim area. Once my future daughter-in-law chose her candlesticks, the owner guided her to an area where a few silver matchbox holders were on display and asked if she likes such things. She answered “yes,” and showed him which one she thought was the most beautiful, never in a million years expecting that he would at that moment take it off the shelf and give it to her as a wedding present. We were all surprised and touched by this genuine and heartwarming gesture.
There is something so intriguing and captivating about newly engaged couples that people of all ages, stages, and personalities are drawn to taking part in and contributing to their excitement in some way. Sheyirbu smachot b’yisrael.
Suzie (nee Schapiro) Steinberg grew up in Kew Gardens Hills. She works as a social worker and lives with her husband and children in Ramat Beit Shemesh.