Jerusalem – Just over one week ago, Sara Litman, who lost her father and brother in a terror attack near the West Bank settlement of Otniel, invited the entire Jewish community to her wedding.
Today, Litman and her choson, Ariel Beigel, will be celebrating their wedding at a massive event in Binyanei Hauma, with thousands of friends, relatives and total strangers expected to share in the simcha starting at 10:30 PM tonight.
As previously reported on TOT News, Rabbi Yaakov Litman and his son Netanel were on their way to Beigel’s Shabbat Chatan when they were killed by terrorists on November 13th. Just four days later, on the day that her wedding had been scheduled to take place, 21 year old Sara Litman announced defiantly that the family would not be crushed by terrorists, but instead, would be joined in their happiness by the Jewish nation at what they called “the million-person wedding.”
Israeli news site Walla reported that Rabbi Yaakov Shapira, head of Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav Kook officiated at the chupah, which was attended only by family members.
Sheva Brachos were said by both of the kallah’s grandfathers, Rabbi David Lau, Ashkenazic chief rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Shlomo Amar, chief rabbi of Jerusalem, Rabbi Chaim Druckman, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivat Ohr Eztion and Rabbi Dov Lior, former chief rabbi of Chevron, according to Arutz Sheva. A table adorned with two burning pillar candles and white flower petals held smiling pictures of both Rabbi Ltiman and his son Netanel.
Jews from all over the world have flown in for tonight’s festivities, with a Chabad shaliach from Australia coming to the wedding, bearing a gift from his community for the young couple.
A statement released today by MK Dov Lipman announced that a delegation of 12 people flew in from Montreal to attend the wedding, after Rabbi Mark Fishman announced to his followers at Congregation Beth Tikvah that he would be going to Israel for the celebration and invited everyone to join him.
Among those who took Rabbi Fishman up on his invitation were a couple who had been saving money to renovate their basement, but decided to use those funds to attend the wedding instead.
“We can redo our basement another time,” explained the couple.
At least seven Chabad houses and campus centers worldwide raffled off tickets to send emissaries to the wedding. The website OnlySimchas raised over $15,000 as a wedding gift to the couple in a crowdfunding campaign and a fund set up in Israel by Rabbi Yitzhak Neriah, head of Jerusalem’s Yeshiva Torah B’Tzion, received almost 89,000 NIS in donations for the chosson and kallah.
“The couple themselves invited all of the nation of Israel,” said Rabbi Neriah. “Those who will come, they will be welcome. Those who won’t, they can bring a gift.”
Aharon Rigler, uncle of the kallah explained that the wedding is bittersweet for family members.
“The hugs and the warmth that the couple have been receiving have buoyed them to come to this wedding with happiness. Reb Yaakov and his son Netanel will be missed and the ache will be with us forever but the simcha of establishing a new family will overpower the sadness during these moments. As Sara said at the levaya, the knowledge and the feeling that they will be watching from above and sharing in the simcha gives everyone the strength to endure the loss and to rejoice.”
After the attack, Beigel said that he and his kallah will not let terrorists prevent them for forging ahead.
“We won’t let them stop our lives,” said Rigler. “We will continue. We will get married. We will bring happiness to the family. We will build a Jewish home and we will continue the direction that they started but we cannot just stop. We must continue living.”