When Yocheved got engaged, she knew it was going to be hard. She had had friends who had been through the process before and she saw up close the stress that kallahs go through.
There was nothing, however, that could have possibly prepared her for what she would experience.
When her mother passed away in a car crash she knew what she needed to do as the eldest. She took all the savings she had, and she paid the family’s bills, got groceries for her siblings, and started paying their rent as well. Her little brothers and sisters don’t realize that with every thing that she lovingly gives to them, she is taking away from her own future.
Just a few blocks away, a young girl named Tamar escorts her blind father to the shul next door. Walking him there used to be her mother’s job. In the year since she passed from cancer, she has helped instead. Tamar’s Abba is thrilled that she’s engaged. And for the first time in her life she’s glad that he is blind, so he will not see her tears: There is no money for her to get started with.
These two young women, and several other brides and grooms, were reviewed by Vaad HaRabbanim this month for Tammuz’s orphan wedding program. After a long string of tragedies that have struck the Jewish People this year, as well as the ‘usual’ tragedies, there is a large uptick in the number of chassans and kallahs who have lost a parent, and are getting started on their own.
A group of the most respected rabbanim in the world, including Rav Elimelech Biderman, Rav Binyanim Finkel, and Rav Boruch Mordechai Ezrachi, gathered together to discuss the cases last week. They assessed the situation and decided on a powerful bracha to give those who join them in their cause to marry off the orphans: For the donors to marry off their own children in health & prosperity [CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL LETTER].
The blessing makes sense in connection with the mitzvah of hachnasas kallah to orphans, and is also relevant to today’s world, as many worry about their childrens’ futures as well as their own.
Each day that passes, another one of the orphans involved either has to call off an engagement, or moves into a bare apartment without furniture or appliances. Donations are being urgently collected to help them get through this process without any more grief, and, if possible, even with joy.