Many of the things done at a Chuppah ceremony are derived from Hashem’s giving of the Torah to the Jewish people since that event is considered the marriage between Hashem — the Chatan — and the Jewish people — the Kallah (see Tashbatz Katan #464, 5). For instance, the suspended mountain which was lifted over the Jewish people resembled the Chuppah and it was under the open sky, similar to your Chuppah tonight.

In lieu of a ring, Hashem gave the Jewish people the Luchot — Two Tablets—and just as you, Chatan, declared the Kallah as sanctified unto you, Hashem declared us His chosen people.

I would like to share with you a reason that Hashem gave the Ten Commandments on Two Tablets instead of on one.

There is a popular joke about this that goes as follows:

Based on the pasuk “Hashem came from Sinai and He shone forth to them from Seir, He appeared from Mount Paran and He came with myriads of the holy — from His right hand He presented a fire of law to them” (Devarim 33:2), the Gemara (Avodah Zarah 2b) says that Hashem went around offering the Torah to the nations of the world. They all asked “What is written in it?” He gave it to them to review, and after careful scrutiny they rejected it since it was not compatible with their lifestyles. Then He offered it to the Jewish people. The Jews being parsimonious asked “What does it cost?” and when Hashem told them “It’s free,” they responded, “If so, give us two.”

This, of course is only a joke. Permit me to share with you what may be the real reason that Hashem wrote the Ten Commandments on Two Tablets.

Each of the Two Tablets contains five of the Ten Commandments. After careful analysis it is evident that the five on the first Tablet, starting with “I am G‑d your G‑d,” until “Honor your father and your mother” are items which are in the category of bein adam laMakom — between G‑d and man. Even to honor parents is in the category of bein adom laMakom, as is evident from the statement in Gemara (Kiddushin 30b), “There are three partners in the creation of a person: Hashem, his father and his mother. When a person honors his father and his mother, Hashem says, ‘I consider it as if I have lived among them and they have honored Me.’ ”

The other five commandments, starting with “You shall not kill” until “You shall not covet” are in the category of bein adam lachaveiro — interpersonal relations.

There are many people who separate between the two. They are very involved in charitable endeavors to help others. They will altruistically help people in need or experiencing a difficult period in life, but are unobservant when it comes to doing mitzvot which are between man and G‑d.

On the other hand, there are those who are meticulously religious when it comes to praying and studying Torah, but selfishly unattentive when asked to extend acts of kindness to another person.

Likewise, there are Jews who are careful about kashrut, tefillin and davening etc., but very unethical in business. Other Jews do not observe Torah and mitzvot, but show extreme honesty in money matters.

Hence, Hashem wrote the Commandments on Two Tablets because they fall into two different categories. Nevertheless, by pairing the Two Tablets together, Hashem sent a message to the Jewish people that a person must excel in his relationship with G‑d and with man and that both are inseparable.

Dear Chatan and Kallah, I pray that you will be a model couple throughout your long marriage. You will be, as we say in Yiddish, “tzu G-ut un tzu leiten,” outstanding in interpersonal relations and also in matters between man and G‑d. And both G‑d and people will praise and bless you.


Your standing under the Chuppah canopy is reminiscent of an event that took place in Jewish history some 3,300 years ago. At that time the Jewish people gathered at Sinai. Hashem uprooted the mountain, held it over them and gave them the Torah. According to our Rabbis, what took place was an act of marriage between Hashem and the Jewish people. The suspended mountain was the Chuppah, Hashem was the Chatan and the Jewish people were the Kallah. The Chatan, Hashem, consummated the marriage by giving the Kallah the Two Tablets with the Ten Commandments on them, in lieu of the ring, which is the contemporary custom.

Nowadays, the Chatan says to the Kallah that ”You are consecrated to me kedat Moshe veYisrael” — “in accordance with the laws of Moshe and Israel” — and the officiating Rabbi says in the berachah “Blessed be He, Who sanctified His nation Israel, through Chuppah — the nuptial canopy — and Kiddushin — marital consecration.” They are alluding to that event of more than 3300 years ago and in a sense re-enacting it at that moment.

Prior to all marriages there is usually a period of getting acquainted, courting, and then the Chatan proposes and asks the Kallah for her consent. It was the same with that lofty marriage. The marriage at Mount Sinai was the finale. It followed Hashem’s revealing Himself to the Jewish people in Egypt and again at the splitting of the sea. Finally, Hashem asked if we would accept the Torah and after our consent with the statement “Na’aseh venishma” — “We will do and we will hear (study)” the actual marriage took place: He gave us the Torah.

Permit me now to replay for you, verbally, some of the “conversations” Hashem had before His glorious wedding with the Jewish people.

The pasuk states, “Hashem came from Sinai and He shone forth to them from Seir, He appeared from Mount Paran and He came with myriads of the holy — from His right hand He presented a fire of law to them” (Devarim 33:2).

The Gemara (Avodah Zarah 2b) relates that before giving the Torah to the Jewish people, Hashem offered it to the nations of the world. First He approached Yishmael to see if they would accept the Torah. They asked “What is written in it?” After Hashem let them review it, they rejected it because it contained the commandment “You shall not steal,” and the character trait of Yishmael was “His hand will be extended against all people” (Bereishit 16:12). From there He went to Eisav. They, too, after reviewing it, turned Him down because it is written in the Torah “You shall not kill” and Eisav was told by Yitzchak “You will live by your sword” (Ibid. 27:40). Something similar occurred with the other nations.

Afterwards, Hashem offered the Torah to the Jewish people. Without asking any questions they readily accepted it and proclaimed “Na’aseh venishma” — “We will do and we will hear” — study.

One might wonder: why did Hashem reveal to the Jewish people that He offered the Torah to the nations of the world and that they refused to accept it? Doesn’t this cast the Jewish people in a bad light? To accept something that no one wants does not seem intelligent! Can you imagine what an intelligent young man or woman would say to a shadchan who would offer them a shidduch and tell them that he had already offered this prospect to many a young man or woman and that and no one was interested?

Obviously, we must conclude that Hashem was a prudent salesman and that His telling them this information did not mean that the Torah was, G‑d forbid, rejected merchandise.

Hashem was actually conveying to the Jewish people an important thing about Torah which is indisputable and recognized by all the nations of the world. G‑d was saying to them, “From what I am telling you about My encounter with the nations you may think that apparently the entire Torah suited these nations except for one commandment. If so, shouldn’t they have accepted the Torah and disregarded the single law? Or couldn’t they have appointed a commission that would absolve them from the law?

The answer to this is that the nations all realized that the Torah is comprised of 613 totally unified mitzvot, and the slightest omission takes away from the Torah in its totality: A Torah of 612 mitzvot is not an abbreviated Torah, but no Torah at all!

After this introduction, Hashem’s question to the Jewish people concerned their willingness to accept the whole Torah of 613 mitzvot, to which they unequivocally responded, “We will do and we will hear — we accept the Torah in its entirety.”

Your standing under the Chuppah tonight and every contemporary wedding is a link to that quintessential moment in Jewish history. Not only are you making a commitment to love, cherish, and honor to each other, but also a commitment to Hashem that throughout your married life you will affirm the statement “Na’aseh venishma” — you will cherish and keep the Torah in its entirety.

My dear Chatan and Kallah, may the commitment you are making tonight be your guidepost in life. I can say without any hesitation, if you will honor your commitment to G‑d throughout your entire life, He will reciprocate and bestow upon you the rewards He promised for all those who will keep His Torah.