There are many emotions typically associated with the engagement period before a wedding. Humiliation, however, is not one of them. For “Libi,”* of Jerusalem, what began as a textbook wedding became anything but:
“I was engaged, and about to have my wedding, when my parents passed away. I had to go tell my friends and family, the dressmaker, the hall, that the wedding was cancelled. The grief was too much, and after the funeral expenses and the new task of taking care of the kids they left behind, we couldn’t afford a simcha.”
Though the wedding was not immediately possible, however, the couple did not give up hope:
“For a long year my chassan and I have worked at our jobs to save up for our wedding. But we are still missing so many essential things that couples have when they get married… Dresses for my little sisters to wear, food to feed our guests, rent money for a place to live, kitchen supplies.”
The couple were advised to apply for the Kupat Ha’Ir orphan wedding program, where funds are raised to help marry off impoverished orphans living in Israel. If the campaign is successful, “Libi” and her chassan will have the opportunity to start their married lives with some help, comparable to that which would be provided by parents, if they were alive.
Each month, esteemed rabbanim express their public support for the fund, and give a unique blessing to donors. Previous representatives have included Rav Shteinman zt”l, Rav Chaim Kanievsky, Rav Shimon Galai, and Rav Gershon Edelstein. This month’s bracha is from Rav Elimelech Biderman shlit”a. Rav Biderman mentions in his full statement that donors “fulfill [the Midrash]: ‘If you gladden mine, I will gladden yours,’ and they will merit simchas in their own homes soon.”
For the many people around the world struggling, either publicly or privately, to make their own simchas, this is a particularly powerful blessing. The inclusion of the word ‘soon’ only increases its impact upon reading.
The fund’s goal is to raise $1000 for each of the 36 registered couples getting married during the month of Adar. Those interested in helping the orphans, and receiving Rav Biderman’s blessing for simcha, can do so here for a limited time.
*Details do not belong to any one particular orphan – they are the amalgam of multiple cases, intended to illustrate the pain of the anonymous brides and grooms involved.