Elu D’varim She-ein Lahem Shiur
These are the things that are limitless…
They say that Disneyland is the happiest place on earth. But I beg to differ; there is none happier than the City Clerk’s office of the City of New York. I know, it seems strange that this could be so. A city office? But the clerk’s office is the place that people come to obtain a marriage license or to register as domestic partners. (Yes, even with marriage equality in NYC, one can still register as domestic partners.)
I am not here for a marriage license. (I’ve been here before, to their older office.) This time I am here to register as a wedding officiant. It is June; there is a wait. As I sit here watching happy couples, I am tearing up. I wonder, how will I manage to officiate at a wedding, if I can barely make it through seeing strangers in white kissing?
There is a wall sized photo of City Hall where many stop to take photos. Two middle-aged men present their smiling faces for the camera. They lift their hands to show their rings while a young boy, a nephew perhaps, is jumping to get in the pictures.
A woman walks by with flowers in her hand, twirling her ring, adjusting to that new feeling. I look over and I see the man next to her doing the same thing.
In the alcove by the photo, there is a man and a woman reading, checking their phones and packing. Occasionally she will get up and practice the waltz and then break into a rock-and-roll dance. Finally, she gets him to dance with him.
A couple takes a picture with their two young girls. The youngest, about two, mugs for the camera. I am glad that her mommy and daddy are getting married.
The array of people here is amazing. Some people are old, some are young, some are in between. Some have children with them, some have them on the way. Some are dressed in beautiful wedding dress and some are in ethic dress. Some are funky. Some are grungy. Some are on their lunch hour. Everyone is here, smiling, laughing, celebrating.
Our tradition tells us it is our duty to rejoice with the bride and groom. And their is no limit to how much we can rejoice. But there is nothing written about how much joy we can receive from the bride and groom or the bride and bride and the groom and groom. I suspect may that be unlimited too.
So if you need a boost, come down to 141 Worth Street in NYC, or find the marriage bureau in your hometown. Take a seat. And watch the joy flow.
Ironically, this building used to be the Motor Vehicles office. I remember the dreaded lines when I came here for my driver’s permit so long ago. This time, I didn’t mind the wait so much.