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Home » Marriage

Life Cycle: Marriage

Submitted by on November 4, 2005 – 2:51 amNo Comment | 2,290 views

Adam and Eve



On the sixth of
creation G-d created man. As soon as Adam was created, G-d immediately
remarked that “It is not good for man to sit alone”(Genesis 2: 18) and
proceeded to create Eve.




Immediately
following the birth of Eve, the Torah gives us our first insight into
marriage; “A man shall therefore leave his father and mother and be
united with his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2: 24)




In this verse
the Torah sets forth the Jewish perspective of marriage. The purpose of
marriage is to find a partner in life. Furthermore a spouse should not
be just a partner, but rather someone with whom we can unite and become
one flesh.




Before marriage,
men and women are considered by the Torah to be incomplete. For they
are missing half of their personhood, half of their potential and
ultimately half of their very existence.




However, once
they unite they have both found their missing half. The Torah enjoins
them to continuously work on finding new depth in their unity. They
cannot be satisfied until they have succeeded in becoming “one flesh”.




Once they have
attained this level of unity there is no limit to what they can
achieve. Together they can soar to the greatest heights, together they
can climb to the greatest peaks and together they can overcome the
greatest hurdles.




The Talmud
teaches that if man and woman succeed in kindling their love for one
another in their heart and their love for G-d in their soul, they will
merit to see the presence of G-d in their home.

The Wedding Ceremony

The bride and
groom are led to the Chupah (canopy). The groom enters under the canopy
and then turns to welcome his bride. The welcoming ceremony is symbolic
of the groom inviting his bride to enter his home and share his life.




The Rabbi chants
the benediction of betrothal over a full glass of wine and both bride
and groom share some of the wine over which the benediction has been
chanted.




The groom places
a ring on the bride’s right pointer finger and recites the following
words. “I betroth thee to me with this ring in accordance with the laws
of Moses and Israel.”




In order for the
betrothal to be Halachickly valid, it must be witnessed by two kosher
witnesses, who are not related to either the bride or groom.




Following the
betrothal ceremony, the marriage contract (which outlines the
obligations between husband and wife, which is written and signed
before the ceremony) is publicly read.




The seven
wedding benedictions are then chanted over a second glass of wine. At
the end of the ceremony, the bride and groom once more share some of
the wine over which the benedictions have been chanted.




It is customary
to break a small glass under the Chupah before the end of the ceremony.
This is to remind us that until the holy Temple in Jerusalem is rebuilt
our joy can never be complete.




The bride and
groom must spend several moments together in private before they emerge
greet their guests. These moments of privacy symbolically consummate
the marriage and are extremely important to the integrity of the
wedding.

Sheva Berachos – The Seven Benedictions

There are seven
special blessings that are designated for wedding ceremonies and are
chanted under the Chupah. One of the most beautiful Jewish traditions
is to repeat these seven blessings for the first seven days following
the marriage.




During the first
week after the wedding, family and friends gather every evening to
celebrate with the newlyweds at a festive meal. The meals are concluded
with the chanting of the seven benedictions over a full cup of wine.




A Panim
Chadashos, newcomer who has not participated in either the wedding or
any of the previous celebrations, must be present at every one of these
meals. Without his participation the Benedictions may not be chanted
because the ceremony is no longer novel for these who have previously
attended.