Many women cry at weddings. Tears of joy, tears of excitement for the soon to be wed, tears of remembering happy times in their own life…
Last night I went to a wedding. The young couple had been together for 10 years, they knew they were right for each other. The groom did not have the look of terror I’ve seen in the eyes of so many men about to be married. He looked like he was about to burst with joy. So did the bride.
As the guests moved towards the chuppah, the canopy under which Jewish couples stand for their wedding ceremony, one woman smiling, teary eyed woman turned and shouted: “That’s my baby sister!”
The joys of the evening came despite the horrors that occurred that same morning.
Every Jewish wedding ceremony holds a serious reminder and warning. Some days it is easier to skim over its severity. Yesterday it was more difficult.
In every ceremony, of every Jewish couple around the world, for centuries, the same warning is given. During the ceremony the groom announces to the crowd: “If I forget Jerusalem, if I do not put Jerusalem above all other joys, my right hand will cease to function and I will no longer be able to speak.”
On what is supposed to be one of the happiest days of their life, the groom reminds the attendees that there is one subject that will always be more important than their private happiness, without it nothing else will work right. Jerusalem.
At this point the groom breaks a cup symbolizing the destruction of the Jews temple in the heart of Jerusalem. At the heart of the temple there was a stone called “the foundation rock.” It is believed that this is the rock on which God built the foundation to create the world. This is why Jerusalem is considered the center of the world.
The rock is still there. Above it stands the Muslim Dome of the Rock, the golden domed mosque that is seen in so many pictures of Jerusalem.
Ironically this is the only place in Israel Jews are not allowed to go. Israel provides freedom of worship for all people – accept Jews, in the holiest place on earth for the Jewish people.
Jerusalem is not safe for Jews. If Jerusalem is not a sanctuary for the Jewish people, what place on earth is?
Yesterday, at 07:01, men were in their synagogue, saying their morning prayers, prayer shawls about their shoulders and phylacteries on their foreheads as is commanded. Two terrorists walked in to the synagogue armed with machetes and guns and hacked four Jews to death, maiming and injuring 13 others. Later one of the two policemen that ran into the synagogue to battle the terrorists died of his wounds. There are 27 newly-orphaned Jewish children.
The terrorists knew each and every one of the men they attacked. One was the janitor of the synagogue, one worked opposite in the convenience store. They were not “Palestinians”; both were Israeli citizens, with blue Israeli ID’s.
There is something very personal about hacking someone to death. Bombing and even shooting can be done at a distance. Using a knife to slaughter is an up close, almost intimate way to murder. These two had no problem murdering, with knives, people they saw on a daily basis.
Afterwards Palestinians celebrated the “heroic” act.
At the same time Sweden, Britain and Spain have declared their recognition of a “Palestinian” State, in hopes that this will push Israel to “make peace.”
Obama declared that there have been “too many Jews and Palestinians killed” as if there is some equivalence between chopping praying men to death and preventing terrorists from murdering more people.
Does no one see how sick and twisted this is? Do people around the world really think it’s about Jews or Israelis or territory? That this terror won’t come knocking on their doors?
In the Jewish traditions everything is done for a reason. I believe that there is a reason the warning repeated at all Jewish weddings is so severe. We must not forget Jerusalem.
Jerusalem, above all else… Without Jerusalem we have nothing.