In memory of the bride who never reached the chuppah, Nava’s pure white wedding dress was restitched and now serves a double purpose. One part of the fabric, cut and sewn into a parochet, covers a Holy Ark. The white and gold parochet installed in Kever Rachel, on the Fast of Esther, Navah’s birthday, is where hearts are unburdened before their creator. Women ask for intervention from Rachel Imenu – beg that their destiny be secured.
The other part of the fabric is a billowy, embroidered canopy used at weddings by young couples who remember the eternal bride. Beneath the chuppah, a glass is stepped on zecher l’churban, a reminder of the destruction of the Temple. Jewish couples vow to raise families, transforming tragedy into a firm commitment to instill Torah in their homes. Encouraging proliferation of large families is a time-honored response, an acknowledgment that destruction breeds reconstruction.
Another memorial to Navah is an artfully decorated bridal area in the mikvah at Har Choma, overlooking Kever Rachel. The interior, with a pomegranate theme prominently featured on enlarged hand painted tiles covering two walls, is exquisite. The comfortable, colorful room is a pleasant, welcoming addition to any bride’s first mikvah experience.
Unlike the Tenth of Tevet, where the purpose of fasting is repentance, the Fast of Esther is a day of prayer. In the story of Purim the Divine is concealed; acclaim of the miracle was reserved for future generations. Our daily existence in Israel is a constant round of miracles, some evident, others hidden. I pray that our survival will continue to be guided by Divine intervention, miracles acknowledged by the confused as well as those who value their Jewish identity.
Communal recognition and worship of the God of Israel is vital if we are to turn our fast days from experiences of mourning, repentance, and prayer into occasions of joyous celebration.
I await the shift of climate eagerly.