It has been an entire week. As per our tradition, I have not seen him or spoken with him. I have not even heard his voice. And yet I have his picture in my mind, his words in my heart, and his being engraved in my soul.

It is the day of our wedding and I wake early to prepare. Externally I am having my hair done, my nails, my makeup. But within I am in a completely different world. I recite psalms, trying to infuse every moment with holiness. I fast, as it is my personal Yom Kippur, my Day of Atonement, and I ask forgiveness for my past while cleansing and preparing for our new future.

Just as a crown rises above the head and yet connects with it as well, so too the Jewish woman binds together the spiritual and the physical, theory with reality

In my wedding dress I represent a queen, and I pray for the ability to be a crown to my husband. Not to be his decoration, but to be the tie between his superconscious and his conscious, to enable him to be his best. Just as a crown rises above the head and yet connects with it as well, so too the Jewish woman binds together the spiritual and the physical, theory with reality. The crown rests on the temples, the most sensitive part of the head. Spiritually the woman rests on the temples as well. She is able to massage where there is pain, while simultaneously ensuring that the head does not inflate, for she serves as its borders. And yet she holds the head up high. Because she is queen, she allows him to be king.

I take off my earrings, bracelet and necklace. In another room he empties his pockets, undoes his tie and unties his shoelaces. He is not marrying me for my physical beauty or external jewels. I am not marrying him for the money in his pockets. He comes to me unbound, with no ties, with no connection to anyone or anything but to me and our commitment, to each other.

The music starts and my chatan, my groom, is about to be led to me. He will cover my face with a veil, in order to shield the holiness, the Divine Presence, which rests on the face of a bride. My veil will be opaque so that I cannot see out and no one can see in. My eyes will anyway be closed, to more highly sensitize my ability to think and feel. We recognize that we are marrying what we see, but we are also marrying what we don’t see I want the utmost privacy at this moment, and to not be distracted by the stares from our hundreds of guests.

By veiling me, we make an important unspoken statement to one another. We recognize that we are marrying what we see, but we are also marrying what we don’t see. With utmost belief we are sure that each of us is half of our mutual soul. Only together can we complete ourselves and complete each other. Yet it will take work, hard work. He is not the answer to my incompleteness, but rather the means for me to get there. So we recognize that we love what we know and what we are aware of, but we are also marrying the parts that are hidden now from each other, and even to ourselves. We are determined to love these parts as well, and to learn to understand how they are also an integral part of our healing and growth.

Finally, after the longest week of my life, my chatan, my groom, approaches me. It is almost too intense to look. I glance at my husband-to-be for a moment, but then my eyes well up with tears. I can no longer see, but I don’t need to. We are about to be bound together. But we are not just two people. Our marriage represents the continuity of the Jewish people. We are not only about to be bound to each other, but in doing so, we bind together the past, the present and the future.

We will now reunite again under the chuppah, the marriage canopy, to become husband and wife. The canopy is open on all sides, to represent how our home and hearts should be, welcoming and open to all around. We will be outside, under the stars, to bring heaven down to earth while elevating ourselves closer to heaven.

Now it is I who is led to him, as he awaits me under the chuppah. As I approach, I encircle him seven times. As there are seven days of the week culminating in the holiness of the Sabbath, so too I will surround him, enveloping him in love and commitment, culminating with my standing by his side. Just as I am his crown which sits as a circle around his head, now I too create Our marriage represents the continuity of the Jewish people that bond, that foundation, that security.

In a circle all sides are equally close to its center, and there exists perfect harmony. Once I have completed my seven circles, he returns to encircle me by placing an unblemished and unmarked simple gold ring on my finger. This is our eighth circle, one above the natural, the days of the week, and uniting us with the supernatural, the One Above. Seven blessings are now recited, imbuing additional holiness into our relationship and commitment. But right before we turn to celebrate with each other, with our guests, as husband and wife, we first must break a glass.

The last thing my new husband does under our wedding canopy is that he steps on this glass. It is silent, and we all hear the glass shatter. The shattered glass represents the suffering that must always be remembered, even in our joy. Even though we are imbued with happiness, we as a people, as a world, are not in such a state. And therefore it is our responsibility to remember that as we rejoice, we need to create a world where all can rejoice. And we must live our lives with a sensitivity to those less fortunate than ourselves, and be grateful for all the good that has been bestowed upon us.

After the glass is broken, it is now time for us to celebrate our joy. I remove the veil, as my husband and I gaze at each other for the first time as a married couple. The music begins, our guests start singing and dancing, and we are led from the canopy to begin our new life together.