The ultimate wedding invitation

Everyone loves a good wedding. This weekend, you're invited to join one of the most beautiful and profound ceremonies ever imagined.

And guess what, you're the bride.

Shavuot begins Saturday night. Centuries ago, Jewish mystics began to envision Shavuot as a wedding between God and the Jews, each choosing the other forever and pledging to uphold certain standards.

Those standards are more specifically called Torah. Shavuot celebrates God's gift of the Torah — a guide for ethical living — to the Jews.

Of course, most weddings require long-term preparation.

In theory, you've been preparing for the ceremony since the second night of Passover, when the counting of the Omer began. During this 49-day period, which ends with Shavuot, Jews are supposed to spiritually ready themselves for the big event.

If you haven't been counting the Omer, don't worry: You're allowed to elope.

So what do the final wedding preparations look like?

Since the ceremony itself is scheduled just after dawn, the bride must take care of all the last-minute details during the night.

Jewish mystics in 16th-century Safed began a tradition known as Tikkun Leil Shavuot (Liturgy of the Night of Shavuot). They would study Torah all night. And without sleeping a wink, they would join an early-morning Shavuot service to hear the reading of the Ten Commandments.

Today, many congregations sponsor a Tikkun Leil Shavuot. There are also community events, such as one at the Berkeley-Richmond Jewish Community Center.

Try joining a study session, even for a few hours.

To carry the metaphor one last step, consider the joy of the honeymoon period. For several months after the wedding day, newlyweds bask in their new level of commitment.

So this summer, commit yourself to an extra bit of Torah study or to take on a new mitzvah. You'll be blessed with boundless rewards.

And by the way, mazel tov.