Recap: The chupah (wedding) is over but the chosson (groom) appeared very strange. Something was very wrong but Michal didn’t understand what it was.
“It’s just excitement,” said the mother of the chatan (GROOM). “He’s simply very excited. Overexcited. We’ll take him to someone who helps excited chatanim.”
Michal was red-eyed and very mixed up. She called her parents and told them that they’re going there by taxi.
They came to a room bearing a sign in English: Psychiatrist.
Michal knew simple English from high school, and she understood this word.
The man “who helps chatanim” (GROOMS) spoke primarily in English. He gave the chatan an injection, and that’s how he helped him.
The chatan, who until then had chattered and talked and babbled without a stop (which he did all the time, until Michal longed for just one thing – some quiet), fell silent all at once and became very quiet.
“You see,” the shvigger (mother-in-law) said, “it helps instantly.”
Abba came there. He parked the car in a “no parking” spot, opposite the driveway, and quickly came out.
“I’m sorry,” he said to the shvigger and the chatan. “Michal is coming home with me. Now.”
Her father, a usually gentle and soft-spoken person, the type who doesn’t take fiery initiatives and never makes bombastic announcements, simply took her to the car and drove off.
They remained standing there, in shock.
Michal started crying softly.
“I’m sorry,” Abba said again. “In the Gemara Talmud) , they call it a ‘mekach ta’ut (a transaction based on an error) .’ Nobody warned us that he has a mental illness and that he is under regular psychiatric care.”
“And if it’s a mekach ta’ut, then the marriage isn’t valid?” Michal asked, her eyes red.
“We’ll still need an official procedure.”
“I’ve barely gotten married and I’m getting divorced?!”
Abba stroked her hand gently. “Better now, Michal.”
When they got home, Michal went to her room, unseeing like a horse with visors on the right and on the left. She entered the room that was still her room, the bed that was still her bed, put the pillow over her head, and slept for fifteen uninterrupted hours.
The days passed, and the to’en rabbani (rabbinical advisory group) wasn’t idle. He wrote up an agreement — a contract — with many subsections: what each one gives and what each one takes. At first, it didn’t interest Michal in the least. And then, one day, she asked the to’en rabbani to put things on hold.
“Why?” he asked.
“Just wait with it. I’ll explain everything. Now I’m rushing off to work.”
She was a “fill-in” teacher for first grade and she enjoyed the girls’ purity and radiance, their innocence and their honest desire to hear and to know.
“They don’t yet know how to fool around and bother the teacher,” she said to her mother one winter afternoon. Ima (Mommy)sat at the gleaming counter and whispered segulot from a little sefer (holy book) . It’s not that she wanted to disturb Ima, but that was what her mother did most of the day these days, whisper segulot and tefillot. Michal understood that Abba hadn’t yet spoken with Ima about her desire to put the proceedings on hold. To be continued.