A festive spirit is assured when joy is demonstrated through the observance of relevant religious symbols. For a married couple the repetition of the seven nuptial blessings after the birkhat ha-mazon (grace) every day of the first week is a reminder of their beautiful moment under the chuppah. Additional prayers are inserted as introductions to the grace.

The Introductory Prayers for the Grace

Two prayers are recited—one sad, one joyful—as part of the prefatory invocation at the first meal and thereafter during the first week. The first element is a commemoration of the destruction of the temple.

דוַי הסר וגם חָרוֹן ואז אלם בּשיר ירוֹן נחנוּ בּמַעגלי צדק שׁעה בּרכּת בּני ישרוּן

"Banish, O L-rd, both brief and anguish, then shall even the mute exult in song. Guide us in the paths of righteousness. Accept the blessing of the children of Jeshurun (Israel)."

This four-line poem, prefixed to the grace proper, is attributed to a tenth century poet and grammarian, Dunash ben Labrat. The words "grief" and "anguish" (devai and charon) are key words of lamentations at the destruction of the two Temples. Chapter One of the biblical book of Lamentations includes ve’libi davai, "my heart is faint." "Remove the lamentations," prays the poet. Chapter Four speaks of the pouring out of G‑d’s wrath. "Keep it from us," our poet pleads, so that even the mute will rise in prayer.

This poem is recited while holding the wine goblet for the saying of grace, and only in the presence of a minyan. (If there are not ten, but there are three or more, the introductory prayer of grace used at a circumcision, nodeh le’-shimkha, which was also designed for this purpose, is read in its stead.) This prayer is recited even on the Sabbath, when petitionary prayers are avoided.

The second element is a two-word insertion into the introductory statement she-ha-simkhah bi-me’ono, "in whose dwelling there is joy."

בּרשוּת (כּהן) מרנן ורבּוֹתי נברךְ א-להינו שׁהשמחה בּמעוֹנוֹ ושׁאכלנוּ משׁלוֹ

"Praised be our G‑d, in Whose dwelling there is joy, and of Whose bounty we have partaken."

So high is the level of wedded joy that human beings can experience that G‑d Himself is said to rejoice with the couple in His own abode. The two-word inclusion is suggested in the Talmud and receives more commentary and halakhic treatment than the rest of the introductory poem (which is post-Talmudic).

Ma-on, (dwelling) is considered by the mystic Ibn Yarhi to be the fifth of the seven levels of Heaven, where the angelic hosts pour forth their lyric ecstasies.

Simchah, joy. Can we then speak of "G‑d’s joy"? One commentary cites a tradition that angels in the "dwelling" brought food for Adam and Eve’s wed-ding. Another mystical interpretation is that these exalted words are recited only at a wedding because it is a new relationship that will produce children who will survive their parents’ death. Parents are thus assured, as at no other time, that the children will survive them. Thus in His "dwelling" there will be complete joy, but in this world there can never be pure, consummate joy.

The words are recited wherever bride and groom have their meals during this one week, just as the seven blessings are recited at the end of the grace.

The Ceremony of the Wine Glasses

The bride and groom are king and queen, and wine is poured, mixed, and sipped in their honor. Tradition has made this legal requirement a whole joyous ceremony. Two glasses of wine are twice that normally used for kiddush to introduce the Sabbath. One glass is required for the grace, the other for the seven nuptial blessings. Rema requires two separate glasses, as under the chuppah, because one should not celebrate two sanctities with one cup.

After one cup has been filled, the grace, with its prefatory prayers, is recited. The full cup is held by the leader during the grace, then placed on the table.

Another cup is filled and someone (either the same leader or another person) is chosen to lead in the recitation of the Sheva Berakhot, the seven benedictions. He begins with the second blessing, leaving the first—over the wine—for last. The honor of reciting the individual blessings may be distributed to guests. After the sixth blessing, the leader of the grace recites the blessing over the wine (which serves for both the nuptial benedictions and the grace). The wine from the two cups is then intermixed in a third glass. This wine is then sipped by bride and groom, while the leader drinks from his original cup of wine. Hasidim and some other group have everyone at the table drink from this "cup of blessing."

If there is no minyan, the seven benedictions are not to be recited. If there are three or more, only the last blessing (asher bara) is recited, and the ceremony of the wine glasses is still performed.