According to the Talmud, even the greatest sages used
to interrupt their study of Torah in order to accompany a bride and groom
to the Chuppah.
A Bride begins her transition from single to married life by taking a
This tradition began in the Middle Ages when a couple would wed outdoors
so that the marriage could be blessed with as many children as there are
stars in the heavens.
The Aufruf means "calling up" of the groom and congregation
to the Torah. The wedding festivities commence on a Shabbat
morning service at Temple led by a Rabbi. Traditionally, a groom was given
the honor of an aliyah (the recitation of the blessings
before and after the Torah reading) on the Shabbat before his wedding.
A ketubah is a Jewish marriage contract, is accepted contract for the
obligations articulated in a the marriage. The ketubah developed some
two thousand years ago in order to protect the bride by specifying the
groom's marital and financial obligations. Have a ketubah designed by
an artisan, modeled after any of the various medieval Hebrew manuscripts.
A hand crafted ketubah is based upon the traditional Aramaic text, but
supplement it with a contemporary, egalitarian perspective, add a quote
from an ancient Elephantine marriage contract or several medieval Hebrew
The Jewish wedding ceremony takes place under a canopy, called a Chuppah.
Chuppah symbolizes the home the bride and groom will build together. Open
on all sides, it also conveys a sense of hospitality, a core Jewish value
since the days of our biblical ancestors. A simply made Chuppah can be
made by sewing together two prayer shawls (each called a tallit).
The Jewish wedding combines two originally separate parts: erusin or
kiddushin (betrothal) and nissuin (nuptials).
The ceremony begins with the lighting of candles, a Sephardic Jewish
custom that reflects the association between light and celebration.
- The ceremony contains several main components:
- The reciting of the betrothal blessing and the first cup of wine,
- The reading of the ketubah, the chanting of the sheva berachot
(seven wedding blessings)
- The second cup of wine,
- The exchange of rings, and
- The breaking of the glass.
The second cup of wine, celebrates the union as bride and groom. The
second blessing over the wine is part of the seven wedding blessings,
which thank God for creating the universe, human beings, and marriage.
The blessings emphasize the joy of the marriage day, as in the seventh
blessing which praises God for creating joy and gladness, bridegroom and
bride, delight and cheer, pleasure and delight, love and harmony, peace
The giving of a ring by the groom and the acceptance by the bride constitute
the central act of kiddushin, or betrothal. Both exchange rings and recite
the traditional marriage formula, stating that they are consecrated to
one another according to the tradition of Moses and Israel. The rings
will be placed on the index fingers. Some believe this custom developed
so the witnesses could easily see that the bride had accepted the ring;
others more romantically explain the index finger is directly connected
to the heart.
After a moment of silent prayer, the Rabbi will wrap them in a tallit
and recite the Priestly Blessing. The ceremony will conclude with the
breaking of the glass, a custom invested with numerous interpretations.
The broken glass symbolizes the destruction of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem,
a reminder of our people's losses even at this moment of personal joy.
The shattered glass also makes us aware of the delicate nature of human
relationships and the fragility of our lives. After the ceremony, shouts
of "good luck"or "Mazel Tov!" can
be heard from the joyous celebrants.
Following the ceremony, they share a few moments of seclusion, called
yihud. Then, they will join everyone for the seudat nissuin,
the wedding feast. According to Jewish law, it is a mitzvah
(a commandment and a good deed) to rejoice with the bride and groom, and
then look forward to dancing, feasting, and celebrating together.
The hora, is a traditional dance of celebration, and
is performed at the reception.
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