Of a rabbi, of course. This was Sunday, a busy one, filled with lifecycle events as Sundays so often are. My schedule had been complicated by a funeral (something you simply can’t plan for). I was writing the eulogy by 7:30, doing my best to pull together the threads of the conversation I had had with the family the previous day. A long and well lived life, one worthy of both celebration and gratitude. The funeral was scheduled for 1.
But there were other things on the docket. First up a conversion of a 6 month old baby boy. I met the family, helped the parents navigate a moment that is both simple and at the very same time enormously complex. When the baby was out of the mikveh and dry and smiling, I was back in my office. My remaining schedule for the day: an unveiling at 12:15, the funeral at 1, and then a wedding downtown scheduled to begin at 3:30.
Of course I had to prepare for the wedding, put together a few comments to make to the bride and groom, make sure I knew exactly what the order of the ceremony would be. I spent the 40 minutes or so between the conversion and the time I had to leave for the unveiling doing the wedding prep. At 11:45 I was climbing into my car to head to the cemetery for the unveiling.
Now it would be a sprint – unveiling, funeral, burial, wedding, all in rapid succession. I met the family for the unveiling in the cemetery at 12:10, a small group gathered a year after their loss to pay tribute to memory and presence. At 12:25 I left the cemetery and drove to the funeral home. The funeral service began promptly at 1, with beautiful words of tribute spoken by the son and daughter of the woman who had died. From the funeral home back to the cemetery for the burial service. It was now 2:45. I left the cemetery for the second time that day, pulled onto the highway, and headed downtown.
I found the proper lot, parked, took my tallit and of course the ever present Rabbi’s Manual. I found the wedding coordinator (s!) and they led me to the bride and groom. There is always a reaction when the rabbi arrives at a wedding – yes! This is actually going to happen! And soon! We signed the ketubah, were led downstairs, got in line for the procession, the music started, and we were off. Wonderful bride and groom, laughing and so at ease. In twenty minutes it was all over, the young couple joined together as husband and wife.
I took a breath. A kindly bartender poured me a bourbon, and I chatted with some of the wedding guests for a time, even got to wish the groom a mazaltov. But the day was over. Dusk was falling, and I headed home.