A Bittersweet Day

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Audio Excerpt (4:16 Mins)
Program Link: Big Gas Find Sparks a Frenzy in Israel

Shalom laYehudim, Shalom laBnai Noach, Shalom laGoyim. It’s the evening of the 6th day, kaf-dales beTeves, Parashas Vaeira, tav-shin-ayin-alef, the evening of the 5th day Thursday, 30 December, 2010, webcasting from Israel, bittersweet Israel.

You all know the Jewish wedding ceremony custom of the groom stomping on a glass, or even a light bulb will do, and breaking it, which is a mixing of the sweetness of the marriage of two people with the image of the shattering of the Jewish people.

There are various explanations of the meaning of the ritual, and the most common and the one that makes most sense to my mind, and is brilliant, is that it calls to mind the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.

It is such an unusual and easy and cute custom to perpetuate, even the so-called Reform and Progressive Jews, the self-regarding liberal idol-worshippers of those terms who attach them to the word Judaism and sneer at Orthodox Jews and bash Israel in the New York Times do it. I’ll bet even Little Tommy Friedman performed it when he got married – even when it is so completely misunderstood by liberal Jewish Israel-bashers like Friedman or Martin Indyk & Co.

It is a mnemonic, a memory device. The smashing of the glass calls to mind the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem and thereby mixes the sweet with the bitter and sends a message to all Jews present and especially the couple likely deliriously joined in holy matrimony that as a Jewish couple, their happiness will always be less than complete because the happiness of the Jewish people cannot be complete until the nation in exile returns to re-build the Temple in Jerusalem, and implicitly of course the whole country.

Reform Jews like LTF or Martin Indyk and the Jews at National Public Radio or the editorial board of the New York Times are doctrinally members of a community who call their meeting houses “temples” in order to make the statement that they don’t care about returning to the Promised Land to re-build the Temple – though ask your average liberal Jew, ask LTF, what is the difference between “temple” and “synagogue,” and he will say they are synonyms.

The glass-breaking liberal Jew also hasn’t got a clue as to what the Temple looked-like and what went on there and its meaning. And if you told him that by stomping on the glass, smashing it, he was preserving an essential Orthodox Jewish belief rooted in the Five Books of Moses that the dispersed Jews of the world like himself would return to live in the Land of Israel and re-build the Temple, and that he could not be fully happy until that happens – he would look at you slack-jawed and dumbfounded saying “Huh”?…