“Just a few weeks before her wedding day, 21-year-old Shoshi* got a call from a relative. In the middle of trying on a bridal gown, the young bride quickly asked if her aunt if she could call her back at a better time.
“No Shoshi,” said the voice on the other side of the phone. “I’m so sorry to tell you this. But something terrible has happened.”
It was then and there, surrounded by other kallahs and their families, that Shoshi learned that her father had passed away. She and her sisters left the store in shock. They were plunged into mourning. During the shiva the chuppah was postponed indefinitely. And, like so many others, Shoshi’s life became just another collection of tragic details. Just one week later her name was in a binder, on the table of the Jerusalem offices of Vaad HaRabbanim.”
A state of emergency was declared this week after an urgent meeting between many of the most esteemed rabbanim of Jerusalem. The details of 36 individuals were gathered and distributed among those present.
The individuals discussed have all lost parents, are confirmed to be living in a state of poverty, and are getting married before the 17th of Tammuz. The three rabbanim at the forefront of the operation, Rav Baruch Mordechai Ezrachi, Rav Yaakov Hillel, and Rav Avraham Elimelech Biderman were shocked by the severity of the cases, and the urgency of so many young members of klal yisroel in such a time-sensitive crisis.
A beis din was formed for this purpose, and an official statement, signed by all three, was released:
“The stories of 36 orphaned brides and grooms have been brought before us. After many difficult years they have merited to stand under the chuppah, however, they do not have the ability to pay the necessary expenses for marriage.
Therefore, we call upon everyone to partner in this lofty mitzvah of marrying orphans, especially as this is a mitzvah that with one act of giving you merit to marry off many orphans.
We cannot estimate the great merit of those who participate and help, which should protect and save them, each person according to his needs.
We three hereby declare that all those who donate to the 36 orphans getting married until the 17th of Tammuz will merit children, life and sustenance, and merit to marry off their own descendants easily with health and nachas.
Rav Baruch Mordechai Ezrachi shlita
Rav Yaakov Hillel shlita
Rav Avraham Elimelech Biderman shlita”
This emergency operation has begun to help 36 young people who have lost parents, and who desperately need financial assistance to walk to their chuppahs with dignity.
The rabbis spent the rest of the event blessing those who donate, and will receive prayer lists with the names of donors. During a similar campaign last year, Rav Dovid Cohen remarked that “to be partners in this mitzvah is the greatest thing a person can do for his zechus and that of his family.”
It is a rare opportunity to follow the specific instructions of this choshuve group, and to receive their powerful and heartfelt blessings. Donations to help the orphans are being accepted here.
*Due to the sensitive nature of the campaign, the orphans’ tragic stories are kept confidential. This scenario is meant to illustrate the pain and turmoil of an orphaned kallah. The brides and grooms involved in the campaign have a diverse range of personal backgrounds and experiences.