Over the past few weeks, people have been asking us what we want as wedding gifts. Yaakov generally answers that G-d has given us all we need, and I generally answer that we have two of almost everything, and really, we don't need a Kosher-for-Passover sandwich toaster. Of course, on the one hand, it's true, we are very blessed. On the other hand, the poor unfortunate soul walks away with no idea what to give us.
Surely some few will give us hand-made popsicle-stick picture frames, which we will, of course, adore, hang on the fridge, and love forever. But for most of the over-12 set, they'll be looking for something that doesn't say "I made it myself" quite as loudly. I recently read a "Dear Prudie" (today's version of Dear Abby) asking whether it was appropriate to mention that the bride and groom prefer cash on the invitation, and while I was absolutely appalled at the idea, it set me thinking in some different directions.
On the one hand, we need almost nothing. On the other, the wedding gifts aren't about the "Loot" for me. Really. For my bat mitzvah, I got a lot of gifts, and some cash. I don't remember who gave me cash. I don't remember how much. To be sure, I wrote thank-you notes, but that was the last I thought of those people in terms of my bat mitzvah. On the other hand, my brother Ben bought me olive wood candlesticks. I knew at the time that they weren't expensive, certainly not "worth" as much as the checks I got. But every Shabbat, for years, I lit candles with them. And every Shabbat, for years, I thought of Ben, even when he was far away. I remember the "Bat Mitz-bear" my cousin Laurie gave me, and the "New Kids on the Block" tape that my friend Jennifer got for me.
To be sure, there are other gifts that meant something to me, and I certainly valued them, but those gifts, given more from the heart than from the wallet, meant more to me than the expensive statuette of a Bat Mitzva girl reading the Torah, which was given to me by someone who obviously didn't really know me, and didn't realize that I would find the image of a girl in tallit and kippa more offensive than spiritual.
So yeah, there are a few toys that Yaakov and I want. Yaakov wants a popcorn popper, and I'd like a bread maker and an ice cream maker. We could probably use a Shabbat water urn and in the Judaica, we could use a "mayim achronim" thing and a havdala set. But honestly, I'm really hoping that there'll be at least one popsicle-stick picture frame in there, but please, no macaroni necklaces. We're getting married two weeks before Pesach.