With Four Minutes to Spare (Wedding Story)

Rav Shalom Miller, head of Oro Shel Adam, recently traveled to the US for a wedding of a dear former student of his, Ariel Pedoeem.  Ariel and his parents, Mr. and Dr. Pedoeem have been especially hospitable to Rav Shalom on his trips to the US. 

Rav Miller tells the following story:


The story started motzai shabbos (9/6/18) when I arrived to Ben Gurion Airport and Air France told me that my 1am flight to Paris was canceled. I was heading in for the wedding of Ariel Pedoeem and Rivka.  I have been close with Ariel and his family since he was a student of mine 9 years ago in Machon Lev. The wedding was called for 6pm Sunday (10/06/18) in Woodbury, Long Island. Ariel asked me to be an ed kiddushin (a witness) for his kiddushin so that made it all the more special. 
After pleading with Air France that I have a wedding to catch Sunday night in NY, they put me on a 5am flight to Paris. I then spent 2 hours at the Ben Gurion AP check in counter to verify a new connection from Paris to JFK. Two hours later they still couldn’t confirm a new flight. They said that they would confirm a new flight with Delta while I was in the air en route to Parris. 
I arrived to Paris on time with about an hour to catch the next plane. At the ticketing in Paris they informed me that my booking was confirmed but because of glitch in the system they couldn’t issue me a ticket. I pleaded with Air France in Paris that I have a wedding to catch…. Meanwhile that Delta flight to JFK took off without me. They said we can get you into JFK at 7pm (for your 6pm wedding.) I said that will not work for me.  I begged the agent to put me on a different flight. They put me on a flight that arrived to Newark at 4pm. We arrived on time. 
The lines at passport were extremely long and frustrating. I finally made it out of there to learn that my bag didn’t make it to Newark. It was not a surprise. I ran to get my newly booked rental car. I left Newark by 5:40pm.  There should have been enough time to make it for the 7:30 chuppah and still be able to carry out my responsibilities at the wedding.  But…
The traffic going into the city was horrible. I spent an hour just crossing the GW bridge. I finally made into NY city after 7pm thinking I had no chance to catch the 7:30 chuppah.  
Traffic in the Bronx and queens wasn’t horrible. 
I arrived at the wedding hall at 8:03pm thinking that I missed the chuppah. I dashed in side hearing the slow wedding music. I arrived to see that the chatan, Ariel, had arrived to his post under the chuppah… but no kallah as of yet.  I made a signal to the rabbi officiating at the wedding and four minutes later they announced my name as a witness for the wedding. 
I couldn’t believe I made!  It was a miracle Baruch Hashem.  I was just glad I didn’t stop off to buy mouthwash!
After serving my role I gave the groom a hug and told him how good it was to be here.
The wedding was a wild simcha like you can’t imagine and I’m not just saying that because I was in the clouds. Sfardim really know how to express true joy at a wedding!
I will be spending shabbos with the Pedoeem Family in West Orange for the shabbot chatan.  I am hoping that that I’ll be able to make it with more than 4 four minutes before shabbos.
May we only share smachot!


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