Contact Us

Finalizing the Nuptials

Finalizing the Nuptials

 Email
Jump to: How | Why | Kabbalistic Meaning

How:

The focus now shifts to the next and final stage of the marriage ceremony, the nisu'in, which is effected by the chupah and the recitation of Seven Benedictions (Sheva Brachot) in honor of the bride and groom.1 These blessings, too, are recited over a cup of wine.2 The first blessing is the blessing on wine, and the remaining six are marriage-themed blessings, which include special blessings for the newlywed couple.3

The groom stomps and shatters the glass; to the crowd's jubilant shouts of "Mazal Tov!"It is customary to honor friends and relatives with the recitation of the blessings of the Sheva Brachot. The first blessing (the hagafen) and the second blessing are recited by the same person; another five men are honored with the remaining five. The last blessing, known as the brachah ach'rita, is considered the most prestigious, and is normally reserved for a very special individual.

Before each blessing, the emcee customarily announces, "Mr. John Doe is honored with the recitation of the Xth blessing." The honoree approaches and stands beneath the chupah where he is given a copy of the blessings and the cup of wine which he holds while he recites the blessing.

After the conclusion of the seventh blessing, the bride and groom are once again given a sip from the wine in the cup.4

A cup5 is then wrapped well (usually in a large cloth napkin), and placed beneath the right foot of the groom. The groom stomps and shatters the glass; customarily to the crowd's jubilant shouts of "Mazal Tov!"

Why:

The custom of breaking a glass was incorporated into the ceremony following the dictum:6 "If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget [its dexterity]. Let my tongue cleave to my palate if I will not remember you; if I will not bring Jerusalem to mind during my greatest joy." This reminds everyone that even at the height of our personal joy, we must, nevertheless, remember Jerusalem, and yearn for our imminent return there.

According to another interpretation, the breaking of the glass is a metaphor for the finality of the bond that has been established. Just as a broken glass can never be reconstructed, so, too, we pray that this relationship last forever.

Kabbalistic Meaning:

at the height of our personal joy, we must, nevertheless, remember JerusalemAt this point the souls of the groom and the bride reunite to become one soul, as they were before they entered this world. Included in the Seven Benediction is the blessing to the bride and groom that they discover that same delight in one another that they knew in their pristine, primal state. The blessings conclude with the fervent wish that we soon see the fulfillment of the promise of happiness and joy prevailing in Judea and Jerusalem with the redemption which will be brought by the Messiah.

When the groom breaks the glass, everyone shouts: "Mazal Tov!" When your husband "breaks something" during your life together; when your wife "breaks something" in the years to follow, what should you do? You too should shout, "Mazal Tov!" and give thanks.

Say, "Thank you G‑d for giving me a real person in my life, not an angel; a mortal human being who is characterized by fluctuating moods, inconsistencies and flaws."

Footnotes
1.

It is necessary for a minyan (quorum of ten adult Jewish men) to be present at the chupah in order to recite the Sheva Brachot. The groom can be considered a member of this minyan.

2.

It is Chabad custom to use the same glass of wine which was used earlier for the betrothal blessings. Since the bride and groom had sipped from this cup earlier after the recitation of those blessings, more wine is added to once again fill the cup before the recitation of the Sheva Brachot.

3.

See the Inner Meaning of the Sheva Brachot for a detailed explanation of all the blessings.

4.

The individuals reciting the blessings do not drink from the cup.

5.

According to Chabad custom, the cup broken is the same one used for the betrothal blessings and the Sheva Brachot. After the bride and groom sip from the cup a volunteer finishes the remaining wine in the cup, which is then wrapped in a cloth for the groom to break.

Artwork by David Brook. David lives in Sydney, Australia, and has been selling his art since he was in high school. He is currently painting and doing web illustrations.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
 Email
Join the Discussion
Sort By:
2 Comments
1000 characters remaining
Jon October 24, 2017

Can I have 2 different people say the 1st & 2nd Sheva Brachot instead of the same person, to honor
7 people instead of 6? Reply

Eliezer Zalmanov for Chabad.org October 30, 2017
in response to Jon:

Some people do have that custom. This should be discussed with the officiating rabbi. Reply

Related Topics
This page in other languages