Recently, renewing wedding vows is very much in vogue. While a variety of reasons are given to explain the intent of this ceremony, the predominant reason is expressed in the name of the event itself: "wedding vow renewal." The name seems to imply that marriage is not as durable as it may seem, and has limited shelf-life. Eventually the relationship becomes stale and musty — which leaves the couple with two options: trash it, or "renew" it.

What is the Jewish take on this new trend? Well, a study of the pertinent Jewish sources — both the halachic and mystical texts — suggests that with a minor adjustment to the nature of the ceremony, it can definitely serve a valuable purpose; perhaps even it should be done more frequently.

Considering that a marriage is actually renewed at every moment, is there any logic behind a ceremonial vow renewal?Let us first examine the halachic sources. Rabbi Yosef Rosen, the "Genius of Rogachov" (1858-1936), one of the greatest Talmudic minds ever, went to great lengths to prove that a wedding isn't a one time event with lifelong repercussions. Rather, the wedding "acquisition" wherein a man marries a woman is itself an act which reverberates and repeats itself every moment for the duration of the couple's married life. As is the case with all Talmudic hair-splitting, this concept has practical implications. One of them: there is a general rule which requires a blessing to be recited prior to the execution of a mitzvah. Yet the Sheva Brachot (Seven Marriage Benedictions) are recited after the marriage has been "finalized." Because the act of marriage continues, it is still considered that the blessings were recited before the act of marriage.

Considering that a marriage is actually renewed at every moment, is there any logic behind a ceremonial vow renewal? Can a marriage which has been automatically refreshed one moment earlier be "renewed"?

At times in order to shed light on a given issue, we need to go back and analyze its source. In this instance, as products of evolution, we look back to our evolutionary source for insight in this matter.

Did you just do a double take? Yes, indeed, our mystical teachings are replete with discussions regarding evolution. Not the man-descends-from-ape evolution. I'm referring to the creation-evolves-from-G‑dliness idea. (A much more palatable version of evolution...) Every physical object or phenomenon is a reflection of a spiritual likeness, because all of creation evolved from spiritual worlds and occurrences. A prime example of this idea is marriage. Man and woman are attracted to each other and have the innate — though completely illogical — urge to eternally commit to a member of the opposite gender because man and woman are a reflection of G‑d, the Supernal Groom, and His beloved bride Israel. The nuptials between this bride and groom were finalized more than 3300 years ago in the Sinai Dessert, when the G‑d revealed Himself to His nation on a mountain and sanctified them for all eternity. The wedding ring was the Torah which he bequeathed us.

And every morning when we recite the blessing thanking G‑d for the Torah — the same blessing also recited by an individual who receives an aliyah — we say, "Blessed are You the L-rd, who gives the Torah." Following the perpetual-wedding principle explained above, we don't say "who gave the Torah," rather "who gives the Torah."

Following the perpetual-wedding principle, we don't say "who gave the Torah," rather "who gives the Torah"Nevertheless, despite the fact that we receive the Torah and are married anew every moment, once a year, on the holiday of Shavuot, we gather in synagogues to listen to the reading of the Ten Commandments. Tradition has it that at this moment we are reenacting our wedding day. G‑d once again chooses us from amongst all the nations to be His treasured people and grants us His precious Torah, and we once again reaffirm our love and commitment to G‑d, to His Torah and its mitzvot.

No, the relationship hasn't grown stale over the course of the past year. Quite to the contrary, over the past year the relationship has hopefully grown and matured; our appreciation for each other has blossomed and flourished. And it is therefore time to recommit to each other, this time with more feeling, with more profound devotion—it is time to actively resolve to take the relationship to the next level.

So to answer the original question: Relationships don't need renewal in the sense that they have otherwise grown old. But they do need to be regularly reevaluated, and then taken to higher heights than could have been imagined by a giddy and clueless bride and groom pledging themselves to each other under a wedding canopy.