He raised his hands to the Heavens and in a trembling voice prayed; “Ribbonoh Shel Olam – Almighty G-d, Creator of the universe, I beg of You only one thing, only one thing – that all my children, all my descendants, should cling to Torah forever and ever.”
I have never forgotten his voice. I hear it wherever I go. In the thickest darkness, in sunshine and joy, his voice speaks loud and clear. So at every simcha and family gathering I repeat them. I also recall it in my speeches and, b’ezrat Hashem, as long as I am here on this planet I will continue to do so.
Those words of my father must throb in every Jewish heart, especially today in our confused time when most of our people no longer know who they are. Those words give life to our people in every generation. Those words make us Jews.
And now I had the zechus to see my grandson under the chuppah with a lovely girl from a real Torah family. Can there be any greater joy than that? Having returned from an exhausting but rewarding European speaking tour, I was under the weather but there was no question in my mind that even if I’d been at the other end of the world I would have made it to the wedding.
“Tatty,” I call out, “your prayers were not in vain; the Torah lives in your descendants and, b’ezrat Hashem, will live so forever.”
As mentioned, wherever I go to speak I repeat my father’s words and remind my listeners that no matter where they came from, whatever country or background, they had a zeide, a grandfather, or a great- or great-great-grandfather, who cried out to Hashem with the very same prayer.
Those prayers of our grandfathers can never be erased. And no matter how assimilated the members of the audience may be, how far removed from Judaism, tears come to their eyes and they are left silent, for they know my words speak truth.
A Yiddishe simcha is always filled with memories of our past. The past is not only our history, it is our destiny, the roadmap by which we live. So it is that when the chassan and kallah break that glass under the chuppah, it’s not just a simple ceremony they follow; there is a very deep and profound meaning behind it.
In the midst of their greatest joy, the chassan and kallah are never to forget that their happiness can never be complete without remembering Jerusalem and the Beis HaMikdash.
Yes, I danced and yes, I laughed. My heart burst with happiness. But even as we dance and celebrate we are never to forgot we are Jews, and a newly established home for a bride and groom will now become a miniature Beis HaMikdash built in the shadow of the glorious Temple in Jerusalem.
Seeing my grandchildren under the chuppah and hearing their words and looking at the pure love in their eyes – a love not just for each other but for Torah and Am Yisrael – that is the meaning of a true Yiddishe simcha. I thank Hashem a thousand times over for granting me this zechus.
My berachah, my blessing, is that each and every one of you experience the same nachas when you accompany your children and grandchildren under the chuppah. May you have the joyous serenity to know that this is not just a wedding but a new link in the endless chain of Jewish history.
“ ‘This is My covenant with them,’ proclaims Hashem. ‘My spirit is upon you and My words that I have placed in your mouth shall never depart from your mouth, nor from the mouths of your offspring, nor from the mouths of your offspring’s offspring’….”