Photo Credit: Jewish Press

The Torah is both the blueprint of the world and the guidebook for humanity, so we are lost if we disregard the fine print.

I was at an azkara a few days before Pesach. My friend, whose husband’s memory we were commemorating, asked that I bring sheets for the memorial service. No one who was going to be there was religious, aside for my son and myself, but they always did the azkara properly. I sort of went overboard and printed the entire perek 119 of Tehillim, and the total number of pages was seven and a half double-sided.


One woman who was in her 70s said that she hoped it wouldn’t take too long as she had things to do. Then she said, and I’m not making this up, that saying Tehillim was passé and that now people said the first lines of popular poems starting with the letters of the deceased’s name.


People came over to me telling me to ignore her but I just couldn’t get the juxtaposition of the words “Tehillim” and “passé” out of my mind.

The son of friends got married not too long ago. I wasn’t invited, mainly I think because they were sure I wouldn’t approve. It wasn’t a real wedding you see. I mean they had a chuppah but not a Rav, they had some of the symbols of the wedding but they gave them different meanings – humanistic not religious, and certainly not connected to the tradition of thousands of years of Jewish weddings.

Well if Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev were here, he would probably say that well David HaMelech was a poet, and Tehillim were the popular poems of his time.

And in this day and age, when there is so much intermarriage and assimilation, even in Israel, should we not be thankful that this young man “married” a Jewish girl. Their children will be Jewish, even if their chuppah wasn’t so much. There’s still hope for their future generations.

I spent the first day of Pesach in Jerusalem with my son, daughter-in-law and new granddaughter, baruch Hashem. My son made the seder and invited a few friends. At the lunchtime seudah, one of the friends had come from a bris.

“What’s the baby’s name?” I asked.

“Eliyah Moshe.” Can’t get more apropos on Pesach than that.

“It was even better,” he added. Both grandfathers are named Moshe. This was a Sephardic bris where it’s customary to name after living relatives. Eliyah Moshe is, baruch Hashem, starting off life, honoring both his nation’s history and his family’s legacy. May he merit Torah, chuppah and good deeds, till 120.

There are two components to keeping the Torah’s mitzvot – the first is knowing what they are, and the second is appreciating their value. The timeless and sacred words of Tehillim, are not interchangeable with Matti Caspi’s lyrics. A do-it-yourself wedding does not sanctify anyone to anyone else according to the religion of Moshe and Yisrael. And appreciating this is no more important than at life events and milestones like weddings, births and funerals.

I know that I’m preaching to the choir.

But when we renew our vows with Hashem this Shavuot, and accept His Torah as His eternal wedding gift to us, it’s important that we appreciate the value of that gift, its eternal significance, and that our survival as a nation is dependent on a tradition that is unbroken and unblemished by novelty.

It’s important that we regard the Torah not as an ol – a burden, we have to find some way to live with, but as a treasure, whose value surpasses itself with each passing generation, especially at life’s most defining moments.

The Torah is our past, our present, and our future, and the key to them all.

Chag Matan Torah Sameach!

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