God upholds the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and befriends the stranger, providing him with food and clothing. You too must befriend the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt  -(Deuteronomy10:19)


Jewish wedding rituals


Ketubah Signing

Before the Wedding Ceremony, The Ketubah <marriage certificate> is prepared. The rabbi asks the bride-groom if he is prepared to accept the obligation and terms detailed in it. This is done in the presence of two witnesses, not related to the Bride and Groom, who will sign the Ketubah. Traditionally, before proceeding to the Canopy the Rabbi and some of the guests escort the groom to the room in which the bride is seated.


Bedecken-Veiling of the Bride

After the Ketubah signing and just prior to the processional to the chuppa, Rabbi Carter instructs the mother of the bride to veil her daughter, as she is being blessed  "Our sister, be though the mother of thousands of myriads". This is the blessing bestowed upon Rivka <Rebecca> by her family when she departed to marry Issac. She "took" her veil and covered herself as a gesture of modesty when she approaches her bridegroom. 


Processional to Chuppa

Although the order of the processional is a matter of local procedure, the custom of escorts of the bride and groom is quite ancient. The Talmud states that the verse "And he brought her unto the Man <Genesis 2.22> teaches that G-D acted as best Man for Adam. Since the bridal couple are compared to a King and Queen, it is fitting that they should have entourages. Rabbi Carter leads a processional.

 Circling-Seven Circuits 

At some traditional weddings, as the bride is brought to the canopy, the escorts lead her around the groom to fulfill the verse "A woman shall go around a man" <Jeremiah 32.22> Seven circuits should be made to correspond to the seven different verses in the Bible which state: "And when a man taketh a wife". The circle was believed to create an invisible wall of protection for them from evil spirits. 

The circle symbolized the new relationship of the bride and groom, each now becoming the center of the other's attention. In Jewish mysticism, the circling helps each of them enter the sphere of the other's soul. The bride then comes and stands at the grooms right as the Psalmist says " At the right hand doth the Queen stand" <Psalm 45.10> The bride again is likened to the Queen on her wedding day.


Chuppah-Marriage Canopy

The marriage ceremony proper takes place under a canopy, usually made from silk or velvet, supported by four staves. The original meaning of CHUPPAH was a room or covering as stated in Joel 2:16, "Let the bridegroom go fourth from his chamber, and the bride out of her pavilion. <Chuppa> 

The Chuppa is like a house which is open on all four sides, in a sense it is like our Patriarch Abraham's tent, which according to tradition had entrances on all four sides, this was a reflection of Abraham's great trait of hospitality, that he would always take in guests and wayfarers. In coming to the Chuppat Kidushim (The Sanctified Marriage Canopy), the couple begins their life in a house resembling that of Abraham.  They make a statement that their home will be open to guests and hospitality. The Chuppa also recalls the revelation on Mt. Sinai, this event is seen as a marriage between G-d and Israel and many marriage laws and customs are derived from the Sinai experience.

 The wrapping of the couple in a tallit

 At age 13 a boy becomes Bar Mitzvah, he is given a tallit-which is to be with him the rest of his life. In the Sepharadic culture, the tallit was used to wrap the couple with the groom's tallit under the chuppah, symbolizing their union, as well as the protection of G-d.

Exchange of Rings

As a prelude to the service Psalm 118 are chanted, The essence of the ceremony is the act of espousal which is preformed by the bride groom. he places a ring, which must be his own property, on the brides forefinger of the right hand the <index> finger that points easily, so that she can display it for the witnesses to see, as legal evidence of matrimony. The ring is considered the seal of the bond that unites husband and wife.

Reading of Ketubah

The marriage certificate KETUBAH literally means "written document" and is in Aramaic. The Ketubah was formalized in Jerusalem in the first century BCE. Following the reading by the officiant, the bridegroom presents it to the bride as her property.

Sheva Brachot  

Following the ketubah reading the  Sheva Brachot are recited. They allude to the divine source of marriage and invoke God's blessings over the bridal couple. The first of the Sheva Brachot <seven benedictions> is the sanctification over the wine, which the bride and groom both drink after the reading.                                                  

Breaking of the Glass

At the conclusion of the ceremony the groom breaks a glass by stomping upon it with his foot. One explanation is that it is considered a warning of the bridal couple of the frailty of life. Just as one blow can shatter a glass, so the sanctity and harmony of the home can be destroyed by a single act of intolerance, unfaithfulness, or infidelity.

                            The Yichud

The word Yichud means "being together", and it was the custom for the couple to have an opportunity after the wedding ceremony to spend a a few minutes alone, so they could share privately the power and importance of the ceremony.




Updated Tishrei 5771

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If you have any questions concerning this site please contact: 2010 Rabbi Suzanne Carter