Lamentations at a Wedding

Just as this special couple were planning their new lives together, other good Jews were finding themselves homeless, floating without direction in a sea of fear and uncertainty.

Batya Medad

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Arutz 7
"I had really wanted to go to the Temple Mount this morning, but they wouldn't let me. You can't imagine the disgraceful disgusting things going on there - soccer, picnics, but no Jewish prayer," the bridegroom lamented, crying from the holy hill of Shiloh that looks down to where the Mishkan, our ancient Holy Tabernacle once stood.

Tradition states that G-d is especially receptive to the prayers of brides and grooms on their wedding day. This couple, "Joy" and "Laughter", were especially attuned to the pains of our nation, the Jewish People. When I had asked the bride about her husband-to-be, she just said that he was "a Breslov", but I didn't quite know what she meant. It was only when I heard him speak, his "lamentations" under the chuppah, marriage canopy, that I finally understood.

There's an honesty, sincerity and openness in their spirituality. Under the chuppah, with the dark velvet sky riddled with diamond stars, he saw the destruction and degradation of our Holy Land and he cried out in pain. He didn't need to break a glass with his foot to be reminded of the destruction of Jerusalem.

And the destruction of the Jewish communities of Gush Katif and northern Samaria were also paining him. Just as this special couple were planning their new lives together, other good Jews were finding themselves homeless, floating without direction in a sea of fear and uncertainty.

Despite all the pain we're all feeling, or maybe especially because of it, there was extraordinary joy at the wedding. The music was heard throughout all of Shiloh, every neighborhood; and even those in their graves celebrated. Never was there such celebration in our community, which has also known too much sorrow.

The next day, still in the glow of the wedding, I saw a friend lamenting what happened to her parents, sister and the other Disengagement victims. Her elderly parents had been living in a farming community in Gush Katif. They are now homeless, shuttling from child to child. They've lost their independence, along with their home and community. The amount of money offered them, to be received sometime in the future, isn't enough for a dignified, independent retirement. And if they want to be near my friend, they will receive less money, since there's a penalty for those who choose to live in Judea and Samaria.

The "model refugee camp" built by the government is missing the most basic services needed by the victims. Many of the refugees are religious, but no mikvah, ritual bath, was built. This is a terrible hardship for many of the families.

Lots of money was spent on landscaping; there are tall, expensive trees. It makes the area look well developed, but the houses are tiny and uncomfortable. The residents are being charged lots of money to store possessions for which there is no room. And there's no guarantee that those possessions will be safe and undamaged once they have a large enough home. And there's no guarantee at all that they ever will have such a home.

The so-called "carravillas" are costing the victims a lot in rent each month, and if they find better accommodations or need to move to be closer to work, they will still have to pay out the entire contract. And we shouldn't leave out the fact that Yonatan Bassi, the head of the Disengagement Authority, has business connections to the piece of land where the carravillas stand and is making money off of the deal. And none of this is a secret. Corruption is rampant in the Israeli government.

Our soldiers, once considered the bravest and best, knuckled under the rule of the dictator. So many of us were sure that Disengagement wouldn't happen, because our soldiers would refuse. But we were wrong. When push came to shove, the soldiers followed the government's orders.

The night of the wedding, the groom told us not to sing just yet, because he had a message for us. And as he spoke, it became so clear that the couple was totally sincere when their invitation invited us to a wedding on the Temple Mount, but if the Moshiach was delayed, then the wedding would be in Shiloh.

"Sheyavoh bimheira b'yameinu." - "May he come soon and in our times."