By Rabbi Menachem Kutner
Every wedding is exciting. But this one touched my heart especially. It was for Noam, an Israeli Defense Forces soldier who was very seriously injured defending Israel.
The most climactic and deeply emotional moment occurred during the ceremony when Noam lifted his prosthetic leg and broke the glass under the chuppah to great cries of “Mazal Tov!”
Here is what I said under the chuppah:
Good evening everyone and welcome to the joyful marriage of Liri and Noam! Mazal Tov to the bride and groom and to their dear families. Let their new home be one filled with blessings of joy, success, nachas and happiness.
I want to share something personal with you. This wedding excites me particularly. Seeing Noam and Liri under the chuppah, I know that this is truly a miracle. It is a moment of great victory for Noam and his family and we thank G-d for this beautiful wedding that we are privileged to participate in today.
Nine years ago, Noam was bravely serving in Nahal Oz. He was very gravely wounded when he took a direct hit from a mortar shell during an attack.
I met Noam for the first time two days after the attack. As the Director of Chabad’s Terror Victims Project (CTVP), I visit wounded soldiers of the IDF continually – soldiers who the Lubavitcher Rebbe, in 1976, asked the world to refer to as “…not handicapped but exceptional…”
I arrived at Noam’s bedside with my hands laden with gifts from CTVP. With great effort, Noam opened his eyes. I introduced myself to him and, despite his great pain, he gave me the sweetest smile I have ever seen. From then on, I have been part of Noam’s and his family’s life.
Throughout his long and painful rehabilitation, we have been by his side. To see him dancing at his wedding brought tears to our eyes and everyone’s eyes that night.