The 2 Wheelchair Engagement (6-Minute Inspirational Video)
Since I posted the video “The 2 Wheelchair Wedding” two days ago, it’s been viewed over 4500 times! It makes me so happy to see that this special, determined young couple touched you JewishMOMs as deeply as they touched me. Here’s an earlier video about Shaul and Neta, made during their engagement, mostly about Shaul and his rabbinic
studies. (English translation below)
Shaul’s father: If you would have asked me 30 years ago if one day Shaul would be a rabbi, I would have answered, “Whatever Shaul wants to be, he will be.”
Friend at Sdeh Eliyahu synagogue: “Shaul, Mazal tov! Mazal Tov!”
Shaul: “Thank you!”
Friend: “Your father just told me. I was so happy to hear! What is her name?”
Shaul’s mother: Shaul was always an optimistic child. Whenever he learned something new, how to crawl or lift up his head, he always did it with joy and with a smile.
Shaul’s father: The principle that guided us, above all, was that Shaul is a challenge. Not a difficulty or a punishment, he is a challenge. And this is the challenge we have been given, and with this challenge we need to move ahead and make progress. And we always went with Shaul. When he wanted to achieve something, we always followed his lead.
Rabbi Bigman, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Maaleh Gilboa: What’s interesting about Shaul is that his disability is only physical. Socially, he was always very popular as a learning partner.
Gabbai: I am the gabbai of the synagogue, and I want to say that when Shaul goes up to the Torah the entire congregation of Sdeh Eliyahu holds its breath with pride. And in general, when he comes to shul, everyone helps him right away with whatever he needs. Even though, you already know, he prays on his own. We don’t help him to pray. He has special connections with the Holy One Blessed by He.
Father: After he finished 12th grade, and his friends went to the army, Shaul went right away into the yeshiva. He was at the yeshiva for 7 years. Already at the yeshiva, Shaul started writing articles about halachic issues faced by religious people with disabilities.
Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Bigman: We discovered that he has special abilities in his approach to Jewish law. In learning gemara, he is a good student. But in Jewish law, he has special capabilities, he displays excellence in halachic debate.
Rabbi Achiya Amitai, Rabbi of Kibbutz Sdeh Eliyahu: Shaul, on his own, he learns, and figures things out, and our way of doing things is more like a negotation. One chavruta raises a difficulty, the other chavruta explains, they suggest this possibility and than another possibility.
Rabbi Bigman: He underwent the same process for rabbinic ordination as all of the other students that I have ordained, I have ordained some students. And actually one of the halachic responsa he wrote related especially to the people with disabilities. He wrote a very nice responsum related to cooking by a non-Jew. And the truth is that his responsum was very important, and I use it often when emergency situations arise and a person needs help from a non-Jew with cooking.
Rabbi Amitai: We had a question about lighting the Chanukah menorah. Should another person light [for a disabled person]? That’s the easy way, that he will ask someone else to light for him. But Shaul
wants to light for himself. So his halachic approach is that he would be able to light using electricity as a menorah. But I hope that he has found another solution for his question about Chanukah candle lighting: “his wife is his home.”
Gabbai: On Monday I was on my way to the Dining Room to each lunch and suddenly I see Shaul shining with joy.
Mother: Then he took me aside, and he says, “We have decided…” and he was so excited, and his father asked him, “to get married?” and he said, “YES!”
[phone call with Shaul’s fiance, Neta]
Shaul: Neta, how are you?
Neta: Are you busy? Are you in the middle of an interview?
Interviewer: Neta, would you like to share how you met Shaul?
Neta: We met half a year ago, right Shaul?
Shaul: 7 months
Neta: He’s correcting me
Shaul’s father: We were very happy, it’s a great cause of joy. And now we need to plan this whole process well, including a place to live etc. It’s a project, but that’s OK, we are used to projects.
Rabbi Bigman: It’s very important that the rabbi will be able to put himself in the shoes of the person asking the question. Regarding every question. And Shaul has that ability. In questions related to disablity, and regarding all halachic questions, and this is critical for insightful halachic decisions.
Father: Sometimes people come to ask Shaul’s advice about all sorts of things, and Shaul receives many questions on the internet. Some of the questions that he based his book on were these questions.
Rabbi Bigman: Maybe he will be the rabbi of a large virtual congregration, through the internet.
Rabbi Amitai: Shaul obligates the entire world. If he learns Torah, nobody else can say, “I can’t. I don’t have time. It’s hard for me.” If Shaul can do, there are no excuses.
Gabai: I am learning from him all the time, all the time. He taught me that the sky’s the limit.