The Jewish Wedding And Breaking The Glass
The breaking of the glass is highly associated with the Jewish Wedding Ceremony. However, many people often ask the question why does the Bridegroom stamp on the glass?
The breaking of the Jewish Wedding glass is at the end of the Jewish Wedding ceremony when the groom stomps on a glass to crush it and the guests shout, Mazeltov!
There are various interpretations of why we do this and where the breaking glass Jewish Wedding tradition came from.
One interpretation is that the marriage will last as long as the glass is brokenforever. Other more superstitious say a loud noise is thought to drive away evil spirits. Another reason given was that this is a reminder that although the couple came together as a single union, the world as a whole is broken and needs mending. Some have said that it is a reminder that even in times of great joy that there is sadness. That life will bring sadness as well as joy.
Most however do seem to agree that the Jewish Wedding and the breaking of the glass is a reminder of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. This act serves as an expression of sadness at the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. A Jew, even at the moment of greatest rejoicing, should be mindful of the Psalmists injunction to set Jerusalem above their highest joy.
A final and plausible alternative explanation is that this is the last time the groom gets to put his foot down!!!
Further relevant suppliers can be found here
Know What Traditions To Expect And What They Signify
VICKI GRAFTON PHOTOGRAPHY
Heading to your first Jewish wedding? Whether it’s Reform or strictly Orthodox, there are some Jewish wedding traditions that you will definitely see. Some may sound familiar, but knowing what to expect will make you even more prepared to celebrate.
“A Jewish wedding ceremony is a little bit fluid, but there is a basic outline,” says Rabbi Stacy Bergman. “The ceremony can also be personalized by having the officiant really speak to the couple and tell their story.”
Meet the Expert
Rabbi Stacy Bergman is an independent rabbi in New York. She received her Rabbinic Ordination and a Masters Degree in Hebrew Letters at Hebrew Union College.
Read on for the most common traditions you’ll see at a Jewish wedding.
Sermon Resources: Lgbt: Breaking The Glass
Its wedding season and we are booked. Our weekends are filled witnessing couples walking down the aisle and standing together under the Chuppah. We are filled with emotion as they sign the Ketubah, exchange rings, offer Gods blessings, share from the two cups of wine and break the glass. Tears of joy are shared as loving souls affirm their commitment with the traditions and symbols of our Jewish heritage.
Whether you are in the wedding or an honored guest, the breaking of the glass is one of the most well known elements of the Jewish wedding. But like many things Jewish and all things ancient, the explanations for the broken glass are many and varied. We learn from the Talmud that Mar bar Rabina held a wedding feast for his son. He noticed that during the reception his guests were drunk and full of undisciplined excitement. Unhappy with the behavior of his guests, Mar bar Rabina stood up and broke a valued wine goblet and his guests quickly sobered. After this moment in our Talmudic history the breaking of glass became a custom at weddings throughout the world. This explanation of the tradition teaches us that, in moments of great joy we should not create environments of reckless behavior.
Although remembering the Temple may not be a priority at most modern Jewish weddings, the breaking of glass does provide us a moment to pause, step outside of ourselves and reflect on the brokenness that is in our world. What a blessed and holy moment.
Don’t Miss: How To Plan A Wedding Under 5000
Covering Of The Bride
Prior to the ceremony, Ashkenazi Jews have a custom to cover the face of the bride , and a prayer is often said for her based on the words spoken to Rebecca in Genesis 24:60. The veiling ritual is known in Yiddish as badeken. Various reasons are given for the veil and the ceremony, a commonly accepted reason is that it reminds the Jewish people of how Jacob was tricked by Laban into marrying Leah before Rachel, as her face was covered by her veil #Commandments” rel=”nofollow”> Vayetze). Another reasoning is that Rebecca is said to have veiled herself when approached by Isaac, who would become her husband. do not perform this ceremony. Additionally, the veil emphasizes that the groom is not solely interested in the bride’s external beauty, which fades with time but rather in her inner beauty which she will never lose.
Who Pays The Minister At The Wedding
Most resources indicate it is the responsibility of the groom to pay the ministers or rabbis fee or donation and any transportation or lodging expenses of the officiant. However, many couples do not follow this tradition. My experience has shown most of my honorarium comes from the brides side of the aisle.
Also Check: Wedding Planning Excel Spreadsheets
For Some Jews Breaking Glass Was Used To Keep Demons Away
In Eastern Europe, the idea of demons associated with different sins became popular in Jewish life. People were thought to be particularly susceptible to demonic possession and curses during rites of passage, like circumcision ceremonies and weddings.
Shattering glass, some scholars suggest, would keep demons away. It would frighten them with a loud noise, or otherwise confuse them into thinking it was an event of mourning, not of celebration.
Why Do Jews Break Glass At Weddings
As Judith Seid explains in God-Optional Judaism, If you are having a Jewish wedding, you probably have to break a glass. You can forgo almost every other element, but if you arent breaking the glass, folks will not believe you are really married.
Progressive or traditional, religious or secular, Jewish weddings almost always include a breaking of glass at the end of the ceremony. Traditionally, the man alone broke the glass today, some couples break the glass together or break two glasses. The glass-breaking is typically followed by a communal Mazel tov!, which means good fortune in Yiddish and is the equivalent of Congratulations! In addition to the communal congratulations, Siman Tov uMazel Tov is usually sung after the breaking of the glass. Watch this video to learn the words.
To avoid injury, the glass is typically covered in cloth. Some people use a wineglass, others a lightbulbwhich breaks very easily.
There are countless interpretations for the tradition of breaking glass. Some see it as a reminder of the destruction of the First Temple of Jerusalem. Others say it is meant to remind us that marriage is as fragile as glass. It also has been interpreted to demonstrate how life is so fragile that the couple should enjoy every day as if it were their last together.
Also Check: Have A Beautiful Wedding For Under $5000
The Walk To The Chuppah
In Jewish ceremonies, the processional and recessional order is slightly different than traditional non-Jewish ceremonies. In the Jewish tradition, both of the groom’s parents walk him down the aisle to the chuppah, the altar beneath which the couple exchanges vows. Then the bride and her parents follow. Traditionally, both sets of parents stand under the chuppah during the ceremony, alongside the bride, groom, and rabbi.
Signing Of The Marriage Contract
Before the wedding ceremony, the groom agrees to be bound by the terms of the ketubah in the presence of two witnesses, whereupon the witnesses sign the ketubah. The ketubah details the obligations of the groom to the bride, among which are food, clothing, and marital relations. This document has the standing of a legally binding agreement, though it may be hard to collect these amounts in a secular court. It is often written as an illuminated manuscript that is framed and displayed in their home. Under the chuppah, it is traditional to read the signed ketubah aloud, usually in the Aramaic original, but sometimes in translation. Traditionally, this is done to separate the two basic parts of the wedding. Non-Orthodox Jewish couples may opt for a bilingual ketubah, or for a shortened version to be read out.
Recommended Reading: Which Ring Goes On First Engagement Or Wedding Band
Breaking The Glass Also Recalls Breaking The Tablets
There’s another Biblical reason for breaking glass, according to Hajioff.
In the Jewish tradition, God giving the Torah to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai is understood to be a kind of metaphorical marriage ceremony, where God is married to the Jewish people.
In that context, breaking the glass resembles the passage in Exodus when Moses comes down from Mount Sinai and, seeing the Jewish people worshiping the Golden Calf, broke the first set of tablets God gave him.
“Since the giving of the Torah to the Jewish people was the marriage between God and the Jewish people, the breaking of the glass recalls this first-ever tragedy that occurred to our people at Mount Sinai,” Hajioff writes.
Why Was The Glass Broken At The Wedding Simchah
At Sinai, there was the tragic breaking of the tablets of the commandments at the foot of the mountain at the wedding simchah there is a symbolic breaking of the glass under foot. Every new family helps repair the breach at Sinaithe breaking, in joy, at every wedding overcomes the breaking of the tablets.
Don’t Miss: How To Plan A Wedding Under 5000
Heres How To Make The Most Of This Meaningful Tradition:
1. First, choose a glass:
Beames Designs offers a teardrop shaped glass in a variety of colors. The glass comes in a small velvet drawstring bag to hold it when ready to break, and good for storing the pieces until ready to fill the keepsake of your choice.
Faye Miller Shardz makes a breaking glass in a number of colors. Choose your favorite color to use on your wedding day. A cream satin bag will keep you from injury when its time to smash the glass.
Pro Tip: Wrap the glass in a cloth before smashing to avoid injury. Theres never a good time to get hurt, but this is just about the worst timing anyone could have! The wedding glasses at judaica.com come with a bag for just this purpose.
Perhaps the most practical reason for this ritual is that this will certainly not be the last dish broken by ones spouse and we should not get worked up over broken glass . Instead, like the guests at the wedding, we should say mazel tov! to admit how utterly human we are, that we make mistakes, and that no one is perfect.
2. Next, choose a keepsake to capture the moment.
Here are 4 of our favorites:
After The Plate Is Broken People Shout Mazal Tov But That’s Become Controversial In Recent Years
Right after the glass is broken, the congregation yells out “mazal tov” to wish the couple congratulations, bringing the wedding out of its moment of somberness.
But in the past few years, the custom of saying “mazal tov” following breaking the glass has been criticized. In particular, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, one of the most influential Jewish legal scholars in the past 100 years, said in 2010 that the practice should be eliminated altogether “if not for the weight of Jewish tradition.”
The reason, he said, is because many Jews are unaware of the reasoning behind breaking the glass to remember the destruction of the temples and therefore treat the moment with levity instead of sorrow.
Nowadays, Psalms 137 is often recited before breaking the glass to remind everyone about where the tradition comes from. During the happiest day in a couple’s life, it’s a moment to remember the weight of history that brought them there in the first place.
Recommended Reading: How To Address Families On Wedding Invitations
The Fragility Of Life
Another reason for this custom is that the glass is a symbol that marriage, and life itself, are fragile like glass. Its a reminder for the couple to cherish, protect, and actively work on their relationship. More broadly, the glass signifies the fragility of life, and that we truly never know what the next day will bring.
Why Does The Bride Wear Blue
The tradition of a bride wearing something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, comes from an Old English rhyme. Something old represents continuity something new offers optimism for the future something borrowed symbolizes borrowed happiness something blue stands for purity, love, and fidelity.
Recommended Reading: Plan An Inexpensive Wedding
Understanding Tradition: Why Breaking A Glass Is A Jewish Wedding Tradition
If youve ever been to a Jewish wedding, you probably know that the ceremony culminates with the groom breaking a piece of glass with his foot. Its usually followed by a kiss and lots of cheers from the crowd in attendance. But do you know what the significance of this tradition is?
While the breaking of glass at the end of a wedding ceremony might seem like a silly tradition, it actually has a lot of significance in the Jewish faith. Modern couples who are getting married will tell you that the breaking of the glass signifies that they are officially married and their life together has just begun.
However, the story goes much deeper than that. As MyJewishLearning notes, for many Jews, the breaking of the glass symbolizes the fall of the Temple of Jerusalem, which was the beginning of the Jewish peoples exile to Babylonia, a fulfillment of prophecy that ultimately strengthened the Jewish faith.
The breaking of the glass also traditionally symbolizes the idea that married life will bring both great joy and difficult sorrow to the couple, but that they will now face those things together. Some say that this tradition also reminds the couple that their marriage is fragile, and should be treated with the utmost care.
Choose The Interpretation That Is Most Meaningful To You
Whatever reason resonates with you best, feel free to ask your rabbi or officiant to mention, just before the breaking of the glass, an interpretation that is the most meaningful for you.
And on the subject of breaking the glass, there are all sorts of alternative variations that you can make eg. why not both break the glass together with one swift smash in unison? Be creative and choose the interpretation of the breaking the glass that means the most to you as a couple and it will make that element of your ceremony more momentous.
Image: Hatunot Blog / Dima Vazinovich
Don’t Miss: How To Make A Wedding Spreadsheet