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The Jewish Wedding

The Jewish Wedding

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A Jewish wedding is a tapestry woven from many threads: biblical, historical, mystical and legal. Threads forming a chain of Jewish continuity which goes back more than 3,800 years. Here’s a brief overview of the major components of the Jewish wedding.

Pre-Chupah Reception

The wedding begins with a reception—actually two receptions: one for the bride and one for the groom. (Traditionally, the two don’t see each other for a week prior to their wedding.)

After the reception, the groom goes and covers the bride’s face with a veil, emphasizing that he is not interested solely in her external beauty, but rather in her inner beauty which she will never lose.

The Chupah

She creates an invisible wall around the groom, into which she will step—to the exclusion of all others.The groom and then the bride are escorted to the chupah (wedding canopy) by a candle-bearing “honor guard,” usually the couple’s parents. In Ashkenazic communities, the bride circles the groom several times, creating an invisible wall, into which she will step—to the exclusion of all others.

The officiating rabbi recites the betrothal blessing. The groom then places the wedding band on the bride’s finger. “With this ring,” he says, “you are consecrated to me according to the law of Moses and Israel.”

The ketubah (marriage contract) is then read aloud. The ketubah details the husband’s principal obligations to provide for his wife.

The final step is the recitation of the “Seven Benedictions” over a cup of wine. The groom then stomps on and shatters a glass cup—a reminder of the destruction of the Holy Temple, lest we forget it in a moment of joy—as everyone shouts: Mazel Tov!”

The bride and groom then adjourn to a room, where they spend a few minutes alone.

Reception

Participating in a wedding and gladdening the hearts of the newlyweds is a great mitzvah. When the couple enters, they are greeted with music and dancing—the men with the groom, and the women with the bride. Everyone is encouraged to participate in the dancing and merrymaking.

Grace after Meals

The reception is followed by the Grace after Meals and the recitation of the same seven blessings recited earlier.

For more detailed Jewish wedding information, see The Jewish Wedding: Step-By-Step.

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Avraham Chaim New York City July 25, 2017

Hi. I have been to several orthodox Jewish weddings, and the following common problem is ignored. Many leave a booklet (bencher) on the table, go home, and the catering crew then cleans up, throwing the bencher in the trash can. The rabbis say nothing. Problem: The name, Hashem, is now in the trash. Is this a problem? Reply

Simcha Bart for Chabad.org August 7, 2017
in response to Avraham Chaim:

In general, if the Bentcher was not actually used it doesn't have the same sanctity as a Holy book that was used for a Mitzvah. That being said, this is definitely not ideal. The weddings I've seen usually the in-laws making the wedding will save them. Perhaps you should mention this to the in-laws when you see this happening.

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Anonymous MO November 9, 2013

Every Jewish girl deserves this great moment, when her soul mate reunite with her on earth. It's so important to have your dreams come through, but this dream of being a bride, under a Chupah, it is the only one that can culminate your earth journey to make the rest of your life, perfect.
This is my dream as well, but with whom? Reply

Shmuel Klatzkin Dayton May 17, 2013

Renewing vows A Jewish marriage does not need legal renewal. Commitment needs a constant renewal, each and every day, and a couple can be as creative as it is in there power in doing so, but there is no formal recommitment ceremony, for the legal connection does not ever expire. Reply

Anonymous Hillside, NJ May 11, 2012

renewing wedding vows Does all this hold true for renewing wedding vows after 29 years. Reply

Tamar new york, new york May 9, 2012

Ceremony anonymous of Manchester - the obligations in a Jewish marriage are on the husband, to look after his wife in every way, materially and physically. The bride shows her 'approval' at the ceremony by her actions.
Dee of MN, the ceremony is not about the destruction of the Temple, but there is a short symbolic remembrance, since no occasion can be completely joyous as long as the Temple has not been rebuilt - may it be very soon. Reply

dee ST PAUL, MN May 7, 2012

whow the whole thing is lovely I think it's a little strange to have a ceremony to the destruction of the temple, but i prefer this ceremony greatly! Reply

Anonymous Manchester, UK May 7, 2012

The Bride So doesn't the bride get asked for her approval or get to promise anything, like in a civil ceremony or a church one? Does she get to speak at all? Reply

Janeth Oliveros Cali, Colombia February 22, 2011

Nice this article In the past i didn´t understand why to use the vel and its meaning. It sounds so beauritul, that the man see the inner beauty. Reply

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