When I heard the news about the legal recognition of same-sex marriage in South Carolina… in the Lowcountry… in Charleston… I was overjoyed! In my head, I heard the lines from Jewish wedding liturgy as though they were being broadcast through town by loudspeaker:
“Let there soon be heard in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem the sound of joy and the sound of gladness, the voice of the bride and the voice of the groom.”
There’s a phonetic word play in the Hebrew: The Hebrew word for “voice” is kol, spelled with the Hebrew letter kuf. If you change the kuf to a kaf, the word sounds the same, but it means “each” or “every” – “EVERY bride and EVERY groom.” And this is exactly what recent decisions have meant: ALL brides and grooms can now celebrate their joy and gladness as they legally pledge their commitment and devotion to one another.
That this is now true… in South Carolina… still fills my heart with joy.
Yet the same week joy and gladness filled the streets of Charleston, we learned that Jerusalem was rocked by tragedy and terror. In the same synagogue space in which brides and grooms would stand beneath a chuppah, prayers for peace instantly turned to cries of anguish.
As I sit in one “Holy City” – my heart turned east toward The Holy City – I hear the same words and pray with all my soul:
“Let there soon be heard in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem the sound of joy and the sound of gladness.”
For all people. For all time. And, please, let us say: Amen.