Today has been yet another emotional roller coaster of a day. My heart spent the day fluctuating between my stomach and my throat, occasionally and unexpectedly pumping tears out of my eyes.
I spent most of the day with two good friends/neighbors trying to help them rearrange their children’s wedding venue, moved just two days before the wedding. They found a new hall, arranged the hall decorations and just when the tears from the nerve-wracking change of plans were finally calming down, boom, more rockets started landing closer and closer to the new hall they had chosen. They had abandoned the old hall because the IDF’s rear command’s orders were that halls in that area have no more than 300 people at an affair. Now, their new location was also in jeopardy.
Cancellations steadily poured in, as more and more of the bride and groom’s friends were called up or moved to Gaza. Forgetting about the financial strain of such changes, or the normal pre-wedding emotional tidal waves, the state of the nation and the uncertainty bought everything to a head. There were many tears, and many raised voices as frustration mounted and well meaning people tried to suggest things instead of just being supportive.
And then everyone took a deep breath and together we tried to make sense of the situation. We tried to continue planning, even in the face of uncertainty, and we decided to try to embrace the situation instead of being afraid of it.
The bride and the groom put together a special prayer to read before the Chuppah, asking the Almighty to grant their wishes for unity, security and brotherly love, since it is known that the prayers of the bride and groom on their wedding day have more power.
They took their disappointment and their worry and replaced it with determination to make the best of whatever situation there is. They decided to learn how to take challenges and grow from them, not let it break them. And for me, that is the Jewish people and the Jewish nation. A nation that learns and grows from adversity and doesn’t break. A people who come together in love and kindness.
And after the tears turned to determination, there was even more happiness, despite rockets falling in southern and central Israel and as far north as the Haifa area. Another couple, good friends of the bride and groom and also neighbors of mine, announced their engagement. There was true joy, real laughter and a sense of hope for the future.
Life in Israel and life as a Jew is happiness intermingled with sadness. Yet, when we face adversity head on and stand strong in the face of it, we are rewarded in the most unexpected ways.
May we all be blessed to see the day that we can marry off our children in peace and tranquility without rockets flying overhead.