I was 22 and had been in shidduchim for close to three years. It wasn’t easy, but I don’t think it was as hard on me as it was on my mother. Whenever we went to a wedding together, she would sigh quietly and stare off into the distance like someone lost at sea. No segulah was too strange to try in her attempt to find me my zivvug. She had already dragged me all over New York (and even to Eretz Yisrael) to obtain brachos. “Don’t you think this is a little much?” I asked her one night when she forced me to come with her at 2 a.m. to a mekubal whose blessings her coworker’s sister’s niece’s friend had insisted were foolproof. “You never know which one will work,” my mother said sagely. “And you’re in no position to turn down a brachah!” But the straw that broke the camel’s back was the aftermath of a minor fenderbender I’d had on the Williamsburg Bridge. After the accident, I was supposed to meet the police officer who had responded to the scene, at the local precinct to fill out an accident report. It was a good thing my mother and my friend Raizy had come along for the ride, because by the time midnight rolled around the policeman had still failed to show up. We decided to go home and leave it for another day.
As I was driving down the darkened streets of Williamsburg my mother suddenly asked me to stop the car. “What’s the matter?” I asked. “Look!” she said, pointing to the VaYoel Moshe hall. “The chasan and kallah are coming out!” “So?” I replied, looking at the beaming couple. “Let’s go get a brachah from the kallah!” my mother said enthusiastically. “You’re kidding me, right?’ I said. It was the middle of the night, and I didn’t even know these people. “Surie, how often do you have a chance to get a brachah from a newly-minted kallah?” “You’re seriously going to highjack that girl right now? She’s probably been married for less than an hour!” “Exactly! Fresh from the chuppah!” my mother replied with rock-hard determination. “Let’s grab her before it’s too late.” With surprising speed my mother undid her seatbelt, threw open the car door and ran across the street, calling and waving to the new couple like someone hailing a cab. Helpless to stop her, Raizy and I trailed behind. “Yoo-hoo! Hello! Mazal tov!” my mother trilled, bounding up to the bride. “This is my daughter Surie and her friend Raizy. They’re both in shidduchim and need a brachah. Do you mind?” I have to give the kallah credit.
She was completely unruffled by my mother’s incursion, glowing as she was in wedded bliss. Taking my hand in hers she gave me a sweet and heartfelt brachah. Then she did the same for Raizy. We thanked her awkwardly and headed back to the car, pulling my mother away by the elbow. “That was so special,” my mother mused as we pulled away. “I have a good feeling about this one. Those brachos are going to work!” Raizy and I exchanged glances and said nothing. Six weeks later I got a phone call from Raizy. “I want you to be the first friend to know—I’m getting engaged!” she screeched. Two weeks later I called her back. “You’ll never believe this,” I told her, “but I’m getting engaged too!” She gasped. “Surie, do you realize that both of us got engaged within two months of that brachah from the kallah?” “How could I not?” I replied, glancing over at my mother. “I’ve only been reminded about a hundred times.” After I hung up the phone I smiled at her. “Go ahead and say I told you so.” “How about,” she said, giving me a hug, “I just say mazal tov?”