“I have a hall. I have a dress. The apartment is almost ready. It’s a small task to God to find me a groom by the end of Hanukkah.”
The Israeli romantic comedy The Wedding Plan is all about faith—especially believing in miracles. Michal (Noa Koler) is 32 and wants the stability and respect that comes with marriage. But when her fiancé breaks off the engagement a month before the wedding, Michal decides to go ahead with her plans, counting on God to provide the man who will be the love of her life in time for the event.
She has spent ten years with matchmakers and figures that she has had 490 hour dates with 123 men. Yet there is no one that seems to be for her. But because she believes God is good and will be good for her, she sets off with this plan to have a wedding even if she doesn’t yet know who the groom will be. With two matchmakers setting up dates for her, she continues to meet men. Some might be willing to marry her, but it isn’t just being married she wants. She wants love.
It is of note that Michal is in the Hassidic branch of Judaism. She wants a Hassidic husband, but the ones she meets often have their own quirks. (E.g., one will not look at her during the date because he says, “If I never look at another woman, my wife will be the most beautiful woman in the world.”) At one point she flies to the Ukraine to visit the tomb of Reb Nachmann (a 18th/19th Century Hasidic spiritual leader). There she meets a secular musician who teaches her how to find joy, but would he be a husband for her?
Early on, she is sure this will work out, even though her friends and family think the whole idea is crazy. As the date draws nearer, her faith begins to waiver, but others bolster her up with their own faith that a miracle will happen.
It is not coincidental that the wedding is planned for the last night of Hanukkah. That festival is itself a story of a miracle—of God providing what was needed in an impossible situation. For Michal this whole plan is an act of faith. However, others may not see it as such. When her family brings in a rabbi to talk to her about it, he cautions her against counting on miracles, which can be a sign of irresponsibility. He also questions what would happen to her faith if the plan were to fail. Is Michal truly stepping out in faith, or is she setting up God to carry the blame for her unhappiness? Can she assume that God’s will is going to prevail in this scenario she has created?
How do miracles fit in with concepts of faith? Certainly pastors (and others) are asked to pray for miracles from time to time. The Bible tells stories of miracles and churches often encourage people to expect miracles in their lives. But do we ask for those things without believing they will ever happen? Do miracles often not come because we didn’t really believe in them when we asked? Is the presence or absence of miracles in our lives because of our faith?
Oh, I haven’t mentioned whether this has a fairytale ending or if perhaps Michal discovers something about herself that makes that fairytale unimportant. Will a miracle happen? If so, will it be the miracle she wanted?
Photos courtesy of Roadside Attractions