And so it was written by the sages and conferred upon by the scholars.

I didn’t ask to be an oracle. It’s a lot of responsibility.

Across centuries and throughout the diaspora, no two wise men could altogether concur on why the bridegroom should shatter a glass beneath his foot, yet now they came upon omen that demanded consensus.

I love a good wedding. Once was enough for me, but I consider myself a model guest — punctual, phone off for the ceremony, gin and tonic in anticipation of some light spilling. 

In the first union of a next generation, for the eldest daughter of the eldest son…

I married into a big family and landed in a blind spot, some 15 years younger than my brothers- and sister-in-law and 15 years older than my nieces and nephews. At my rehearsal dinner, Todd said, “you’re like a son to me.” At seder, my table assignment is a matter of speculation.

The ink having dried on a kettubah to mark this new chapter for the betrothed and all surrounding the chuppah

Could not have been more excited for my niece Jordyn and Emery. Cute couple, nice friends, holiday weekend, local wedding, no need to get a hotel downtown. My daughter had to be there at 8:30 in the morning with the rest of the bridal party, but I would be rested and ready for the evening. Black tie optional? Dark suit should do the trick. 

Many, varied, and kind shall be the groom’s men…

I was especially struck, if not surprised, by what a wonderful group of friends Emery had. Their speeches were so heartfelt I couldn’t help but wonder if it was all building up to an elaborate burn by this cohort from Michigan State. But it turned out they just love their boy deeply and expressed their feelings with unflinching sincerity.

Though unschooled in the ancient ways…

Their enthusiasm for taking part in a traditional Jewish wedding belied a lack of, let’s say, muscle memory that made me pause between strolling hors d'oeuvres. Did Jordyn say they had been “practicing” for the hora? With an empty chair? A prop Emery faithfully created out of paper mache?

Whereupon the father of the bride enters the blessed circle of celebrants…

I observed their yeoman-like effort to lift Emery and struggle to keep the front legs higher than the back for hava nagila ve-nismeha. Real-life Emery could hardly have weighed more than Paper Mache Emery (or Emery Board Emery). There was no way these tipsy Spartans could keep Emery’s brand-new father-in-law afloat for uru, uru ahim, uru ahim be-lev sameah.

Then shall an oracle bestow upon all those gathered a blessing that, while observed by few, will reverberate for all posterity.

Jordyn and Emery attempted to contain their relief upon returning to terra firma, renewed in their vows. I relinquished my gin and tonic and tapped out the young man stationed at the front right leg of the chair.

This is why I was here. This is what I was built for.

The pressure I had been feeling continued to build as Todd took his seat. Once I reached a full squat, it released all at once. Only upon my ascent did the true gravity of the moment reveal itself.

Under normal circumstances, I would say that I had split my pants, but these were not normal circumstances. Yes, I now had “pants” (plural), but I had a man's life in my hands and an honor-bound duty for the duration of the song.

For the sanctity of this new marriage.

For the future of my people.

I intended to fulfill that duty, without dwelling on the color, pattern or relative opacity of my underwear.

And so I did, and so it was written.