I love weddings. They’re by far the happiest of all lifecycle events because they simultaneously end one stage of life and yet begin another. They’re also the culmination of decades of investment and effort by the parents.

This week I attended the wedding of a child of close friends and I was blown away by what he said in his speech. He spoke about the difficult journey he’d gone through to get to this point in his life, and how grateful he is to his parents for being there for him all along the way.

This really struck a chord because Judaism’s metaphor for life is just that, a journey. Every soul is sent down into this world with a unique mission, a unique path to travel, a unique journey to make.

But what is our role, as the parents of that journeying soul?

Many try to control the environment their child lives in, others try to control the path their child’s walks on, and some even try to control the child itself.

I want to share an answer I experienced just before I got engaged to my wife. After secret shidduch dating, we made our first public appearance as a couple at a wedding. When the soup arrived, my date asked me a halachic question relating to the kashrus, which I didn’t know.

She refused to eat until we asked the Rabbi who had officiated at the wedding. So, I memorised the complicated question and I went over to him.

He listened carefully and then asked me if the question was mine, to which I admitted it was not but my date’s. He refused to answer unless she was there, so I shlepped my date over. After chatting with us, he then asks me if my mother was at the wedding, which she was, and the next thing I know I’m shlepping my mother over too.

After a few pleasant greetings, he turns to my mom and says a line I’ll never forget: Mazal tov! All your prayers at candle lighting have paid off.

My mother got teary and walked away leaving me utterly confused until the Rabbi explained: the reason someone like you has found someone like her, is because your mother prayed.

I proposed a few days later.

In this week’s parsha, there’s a verse which describes what Moses would say whenever we journeyed onwards in the wilderness:
“And when the ark set out, Moses would say, Arise, Hashem, may Your enemies be scattered and may Your haters flee from You.”

It’s clearly an important message because we still say this verse in shul whenever we take the Sefer Torah out. But we no longer have the ark and we are not wandering through the wilderness – so what’s the relevance for us today?

The chassidic masters explain that the ark is also a metaphor – and it’s you! And me and and every soul journeying through this world, and this is Moshe’s eternal prayer, that Hashem should Arise and guide them, support, protect and strengthen them.

The support and care of those you love cannot remain only within the physical. It must also be in the metaphysical, the spiritual. So if you care, if you love, and I know you do – then pray for them too.