Jewish Wedding Ceremony// help from thekabbalist


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Jews are dear to my heart, and I'd relish the opportunity to witness a Judaic wedding. I don't know much at all about the ceremony, however. I'd appreciate if thekabalist would be willing to explain the ceremony, and the symbolism behind the outward observances. :)

EDIT: Thanks to our mods for creating this forum!

Edited by OneEternalSonata
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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Pam,

Well, I need to be motivated to tear myself away from my work, lol. As you know where I work and as Retail goes wild this time of year, I kind of had my head buried in the sand of the day to day.

I hope to remember to tackle this tomorrow. Feel free to "remind me".

All the best.


Oh I'll remind you my friend. haha

Yes I can imagine your store went absolutely crazy during the holiday season. Just watching the video of a normal day is crazy enough. Can't imagine what a holiday shopping day must be like.

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Describe what a traditional wedding ceremony would be. I know in movies I always see them stomping on a glass or something along that line. What is the significance of that if that is really done.

Edited by pam
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Describe what a traditional wedding ceremony would be. I know in movies I always see them stomping on a glass or something along that line. What is the significance of that if that is really done.

OK. I"ll probably have to do this in pieces but here goes. Please keep in mind that whenever I respond to any question about Judaism, whether about laws, customs, beliefs and traditions, it is always from the Orthodox point of view. This discounts anything Conservative or Reform which will more often than not be a watered down version of the Orthodox practice (no offense intended here to anyone not Orthodox).

First and foremost, it is important to note that each and every custom and tradition is drawn from and is designed to emulate what took place when G-d gave the Jews the Torah (Bible/10Commandments) at Mount Sinai some 3300 years ago and or the Bilical requirements for aquisition (for lack of a better or more elegant term).

The Groom and Bride do not communicate in any way or see each other for at least one week before the wedding. At the wedding, before the ceremony, the groom is in a room with the male family and guests and the bride in a separate room with the ladies. Immediately prior to the ceremony, the Gromm and his entourage enters the ladies side of the venue takes a look upon the face of his bride and immediately covers her face with her veil which remains in place till the end of the ceremony. At this time, it is customary for the brides Father/Grandfather to place their hand on her head and bless her.

The Ceremony takes place beneath a "Chupah" or canopy under the open sky. Therefore, even if the ceremony takes place indoors, the canopy must be placed beneath an open skylight.

Major elements of the actual ceremony must include witnesses totally unrelated to both each other as well as the bride and groom, a pure gold or silver completely unadorned and uninscribed ring which the groom will place upon the brides index finger and a legally completed, executed, signed and wittnessed Marriage Contract called a "Kesubah".

Additionally, the ceremony must be performed over a cup of wine of which both the Groom and Bride must partake from twice during the ceremony.

The order in which the ceremony is executed is as follows:

Rabbi makes the first two blessings over the goblet of wine

Groom and Bride drink from the wine

Groom places the ring upon the brides finger pronouncing the ages old wedding statement "Thou art betrothed (hallowed) unto me, according to the law of Moses and Israel."

Rabbi reads the Kesubah (Marriage Contract)

The wine is blessed yet again and seven blessings are recited

Groom and Bride drink from the wine again

A glass or goblet usually wrapped in a linen napkin to keep glass from flying all over the place is placed on the ground and the Groom stomps on it with his right foot so as to break it. This is a required act of the ceremony and is for the purpose of reminding us that on this, the happiest day of our lives, the Temple in Jerusalem, the House of the Lord lies in ruins and we must yearn for the day of it's rebuilding.

Then everyone yells "Mazel Tov" the music starts playing and the celebratory dinner begins!

Gotta catch my breath! How'm I doing so far? Any questions?

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It really depends on which community, as they have different traditions.

Volgadon is absolutely right! :)

However for our non-Jewish friends I believe some clarification is in order about how different or how similar Jewish communities may be. When it comes to Judaism one has to understand it is a faith of many layers. Now here are the basic layers of our practices:

1- Mitzvot d'Oraita

This is a hybrid Hebrew-Aramaic expression that literally means "commandments of the law". This is the kernel of our religion. However, the law divides itself into two parts.

1.1- Torah Shebiktav

Literally the "law that is in writing". This refers to the laws that have been written and can be found in the Pentateuch.

1.2- Torah Shebalpeh

Literally the "law that is in the mouth". This refers to the laws that Moses gave our people but were preserved orally from generation to generation. It can be found within the writings of the Mishnah mostly.

2 - Mitzvot d'Rabbanan

Another hybrid Hebrew-Aramaic expression that literally means "commandments of the rabbis". This refers to laws that were established by our rabbis. It gets much deeper than this but suffice it to say that it refers to most of the traditions of old and of fences to protect the Torah which became accepted and binding unto all Israel.

Up to this point there are no difference among the main Jewish communities all around the world except for the revisionists such as Reform or Conservative but that's a whole different story.

3 - Halachah

Literally means "walk" and refers to the HOW we keep the Torah. For example: The Torah says don't work on Shabbat. Our sages have interpreted the kinds of work. But how would you apply this to the modern world? For example you have the prohibition of having someone work for you on Shabbat. This is viewed differently by Sepharadic and Ashkenazi Jews.

So halachah can have some degree of variation from one community to the other however the goal is always the same: How do we keep the mitzvot to the best of our abilities. Still over time it often happens that halachah gets a wider acceptance so you will find more similiarities than in the minhagim which is the next item.

4 - Minhag

Literally means "custom" and refers basically to the cultural aspects of each communtiy. This could refer for example to some differences in liturgy, the way a Jew dresses, some aspects of synagogue life and even typical food served on Jewish holidays.

This 4th bit varies a great deal from community to community. To the outsider because of the different minhagim two Jewish communities may seem as different as chalk and cheese but if you look deeper than that you will see the similaries. The underlying laws, principles and symbolized elements of our faith essentially remain the same.

Hope this clears it up a bit. If I have forgotten something my other Jewish fellows please do feel free to complement. :)


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