KJ Hannah Greenberg

Another Wedding

This celebration, which my husband and I merited to attend, was similar to, but entirely different from, an earlier simcha (Greenberg, “The Wedding”). Like the earlier wedding, this one was hosted by friends, included yet other dear ones among the guests, and was deeply heartfelt. Furthermore, like the first one, the second wedding was conducted according to Torah law, featured participants decked with kippahs as well as ones without any head coverings, and employed cheerful folks to make music and encourage merriment. Plus, both nuptials included armed guests in their populations, focused on the joy of an eternal union rather than on transitory trappings, and provided a time and space for people to remember what is truly important in life.

On the other hand, the first wedding was conducted during a time of peace whereas the second was held during the war. The bride and groom’s families were able to attend the first wedding unencumbered. The bride and groom’s families were incapable of attending the second wedding freely; many of them, including the groom, himself, had to receive permission from the army to be present. At the first wedding, celebrants unreservedly gave themselves over to the affair’s happiness. At the second, some attendees were understandably subdued.

As per me, at the first wedding, I felt elevated by the goings-on. At the second one, as soon as I watched the bride and her friends twirl with abandon (blessedly, some participants were able to feel unrestricted despite current events), I experienced internal knots. Prior to showering and dressing for the second wedding, I had listened to Caroline Glick’s interview with Dr. Mordechai Kedar, an important scholar of Arab culture (Glick). During that interview, the professor had described how “jihad” means “overpowering infidels” and that jihadists normalize “taking sex slaves,” i. e., raping female captives.

The second wedding’s modestly dressed women, who circled the bride, no matter their age, were innocents. I prayed that they would never undergo the horrors far too recently perpetuated by the culture of evil.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the mechitza, the men encircled the groom. They, too, were pure. Still, I shuddered when thinking about them, too. The researcher had said that Hamas, Hezbollah, and similar groups intentionally return hostages, if they do so at all, mutilated. Their goal is to make their enemies afraid. They perceive cutting off noses, ears, limbs, and other bits as a vocabulary for gaining psychological mastery.

Nonetheless, the men attending the second wedding, coddled babies. They helped elderly people to their seats, and they hugged and kissed each other. Unlike the monsters against whom Am Yisrael is fighting, our bravehearts value life at all its stages.

Given the scenes of the second wedding, juxtaposed to my newly reinforced knowledge about the malevolent others, a few times throughout the night, I teared up. We are a gentle people. We are tough only when we need to be. Hence, we willing give up our lives to protect each other.

The men participating in the second wedding, the ones with guns slung over their shoulders, were not merely rotating through their annual reserve duty. They had been fighting in Gaza, in the north, and in Judea and Samaria. They may or may not have been summoned, as reports estimate that somewhere between 120% (Fabian) to 140% of mobilized soldiers reported; members of the Klal had run to protect the rest of us whether they had been bid to do so or not. What’s more, many of the soldiers at the second wedding had witnessed compatriots being wounded or killed. All of them had beheld horrors.

As per the women, the ones wrapped in sparkly, beautiful cloths, their husbands were on the battlefront. Their brothers, and, maybe, their fathers, too, were engaged in the most dangerous sorts of business. Day to day, their lives were far from normal.

In terms of us older guests, we were, likewise, not our customary selves. After embracing each other, rather than asking about health or work, we asked about loved ones in the army,  about coping strategies of family members left behind, and about the sorts of mitzvot in which we were engaged.

At the first wedding, our talk of mitzvot included mention of volunteering at schools or hospitals. At the second wedding, our talk included mention of making space for displaced families in our homes, cooking for terror victims, bringing winter gear to soldiers, and, among ladies in select professions, providing trauma counseling.

At the first wedding, folks lingered, laughing, talking, eating, and drinking. At the second wedding, my gal pals, in turn, left before the entrée was served; it’s one thing to join in a watershed moment—it’s something else, altogether, to pretend that lives are routine.

The night of the first wedding was clear and warm. The night of the second wedding was rainy and cool. Ordinarily, rain is a good sign on a wedding night. During the second wedding, though, I chose to interpret that precipitation as Hashem crying with us.


Fabian, Emanuel. “IDF says a huge number of reservists have reported for duty, including those not summoned” [sic]. Times of Israel. 17 Oct. 2023. Accessed 18 Dec. 2023.

Glick, Caroline. “The Making of Sadistic Terrorists: An Interview with Dr. Mordechai Kedar.” The Caroline Glick Show. 8 Dec. 2023. Accessed 18 Dec. 2023.


Greenberg, KJ Hannah. “The Wedding.” “The Blog of KJ Hannah Greenberg.” The Times of Israel. 3 Aug. 2023. Accessed 4 Aug. 2023.

About the Author
KJ Hannah Greenberg has been playing with words for an awfully long time. Initially a rhetoric professor and a National Endowment for the Humanities Scholar, she shed her academic laurels to romp around with a prickle of imaginary hedgehogs. Thereafter, her writing has been nominated once for The Best of the Net in poetry, three times for the Pushcart Prize in Literature for poetry, once for the Pushcart Prize in Literature for fiction, once for the Million Writers Award for fiction, and once for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. To boot, Hannah’s had more than forty books published and has served as an editor for several literary journals.