“‘God has delivered me from going down to the pit,
and I shall live to enjoy the light of life.’” — Job 33:28
This past November, just days before her wedding, the father and brother of Sarah-Tehiya Litman were murdered by terrorists as they were driving to Hebron where they planned to celebrate the special Sabbath preceding a wedding. It was especially painful during this wave of terror plaguing Israel this year. The bride had to postpone her wedding because she was observing shiva, the seven-day mourning period, for her 18-year old-brother and her father who would never make it to her wedding.
How does one process such a tragedy? How does one get up again, live life again, be happy again?
Yet, less than two weeks after the fatal shootings, Sarah-Tehiya not only married her fiancé, Ariel Beigel, but also invited the entire nation of Israel to the wedding. Tens of thousands of people joined the festivities, bringing joy and comfort to this bereaved family. Sarah-Tehiya and Ariel refused to let terror win. They fought the temptation to wallow in pity and stay in the darkness. Instead they chose to live and be joyful. In the words of the bride herself, “We will, together with all the nation of Israel, spread a great light of joy, giving and love . . . ”
In the book of Job we read: “God has delivered me from going down to the pit, and I shall live to enjoy the light of life.” The first part of the verse refers to God’s deliverance. This could be from physical death, or a spiritual or emotional demise. There are plenty of people who are living and breathing, but are dead inside due to a tragedy in their lives or other difficulties. Here, we are thanking God for saving us from all kinds of death.
The second part of the verse speaks about enjoying the “light of life.” What does it mean to enjoy the “light of life”? I think it means exactly what Sarah-Tehiya and Ariel Beigel did. In the face of utter darkness, they shined a light on all that was good in their life. They augmented it, made their originally modest wedding into a huge spectacular event that will be remembered in Israel for decades to come. Together with all the love that they extended to strangers and the love that they received, the couple was able to live in the “light of life.”
Let’s learn from this amazing couple to shine the light on all that is good in our own lives. There isn’t a person without something to be upset about. We all have challenges and difficulties. But instead of living in the dark shadow of painful past events, let’s bask in the light of all that is good and wonderful in our lives.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President