A Jewish wedding is a little more intricate than the wedding ceremonies held by most other religions. There are many traditions that need to be followed, and it can be confusing for outsiders. This guide will help those going to a Jewish wedding for the first time, know what to expect. |
A Holy Day
The wedding day is considered very holy in the Jewish religion. As with most holy days in the Jewish faith, fasting is involved on a wedding day. In this case the bride and the groom are expected to fast from dawn until the ceremony is concluded.
This is the greeting of the guests by the bride and groom. They will greet the guests separately, because in the Jewish tradition the bride and groom are not supposed to see each other for one week before the ceremony. In some Jewish ceremonies the mother of the groom and the bride will break a plate together during the Kabbalat Panim, which symbolizes the seriousness of the wedding commitment.
This is the beginning of the Jewish wedding ceremony. The badeken is the ritualistic veiling of the bride by the groom. The veiling of the bride’s physical beauty emphasizes that this union will be one of two souls more than one of two bodies.
Under the Chuppah
The chuppah is the open canopy that the wedding takes place under. It can be either indoors or outdoors. The bride and groom enter under the chuppah wearing no jewelry. The parents of the bride and groom escort their children to the chuppah. The groom arrives first, and then the bride enters and circles the groom seven times under the chuppah. This act symbolizes how the bride will build a home around the groom. Seven is a magical, unbreakable number in the Jewish faith.
Next come several blessings by the rabbi, and then the couple drink together from a glass of wine.
Put a Ring on It
When a Jewish ring is put on the bride’s finger, the marriage become official in the Jewish tradition. Jewish wedding jewelry needs to be unornamented. The ring should be a plain, gold band completely free of blemishes.
The groom places the ring on the bride’s finger with these words, ““Behold, you are betrothed unto me with this ring, according to the law of Moses and Israel.” Unlike most wedding traditions, the Jewish ring is placed by the groom on the bride’s right forefinger instead of the left ring finger.
The groom does not receive a ring in the Jewish tradition. If the groom will wear a wedding ring, the bride gives it to him after the ceremony.
This is the shout that symbolizes the end of a Jewish wedding ceremony. After the Jewish ring is placed on the bride’s finger, the groom smashes a wine glass with his foot. The breaking of the glass symbolizes the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem, and this act symbolizes the couple’s identification with their Jewish faith.
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