why do you break a glass at a jewish wedding
Question: some 2,000 years ago. This was indeed a significant event in Jewish history, but it doesnÁt seem to have any relevance to me. What does a destroyed building have to do with my wedding? Answer: The destruction of the Holy Temple has extreme personal relevance. It happened to you. It is true that shattering the glass primarily commemorates the fall of Jerusalem; however, it is also a reminder of another cataclysmic shatteringÁthat of your very own temple, your soul. Before you were born, you and your soulmate were one, a single soul. Then, as your time to enter this world approached,
shattered that single soul into two parts, one male and one female. These two half-souls were then born into the world with a mission to try to find each other and reunite. At the time, the split seemed tragic and incomprehensible. Why create fragmentation where there was once completion? Why break something just so it could be fixed? And if you were meant to be together, why didnÁt GÁd leave you together? It is under the, that these questions can be answered. With marriage, never to part again. Not only that, but you can look back at the painful experience of being separated and actually celebrate it. For now it is clear that the separation brought you closer than you would otherwise have been. Ironically, it was only by being torn apart and living lives away from each other that were you able to develop as individuals, to mature and grow. Your coming together is something you had to achieve and choose, and therefore it is appreciated deeply. With the joyous reunion at the wedding, it becomes clear that your soul was split only in order to reunite and become one on a higher and deeper level. And so you break a glass under the chupah! Á Because now, in retrospect, even the splitting of souls is reason to be joyous, for it gave your connection the possibility for real depth and meaning.
We see a parallel story in the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple was not merely a building; it was the meeting place of heaven and earth, the ideal and the real, GÁd and creation. When the Temple was lost, so was the open relationship between GÁd and the world. Our souls were ripped away from our Soulmate. The only antidote to fragmentation is unity. And the deepest unity is experienced at a wedding. Every wedding is a healing, a mending of one fragmented soul, a rebuilding of Jerusalem in miniature. Our sages teach us, ÁWhoever celebrates with a bride and groom, it is as if he rebuilt one of the ruins of Jerusalem. Á When soulmates reunite in a holy marriage, an energy of love and oneness is generated, elevating the world and bringing it one step closer to mending its broken relationship with GÁd. So you see, your personal story and the story of JerusalemÁs destruction are inextricably linked. The shattering that happened to Jerusalem happened to your soul, and the joy you are experiencing now will one day be experienced by Jerusalem, too. One day soon, when the Temple is rebuilt, our souls will reunite with GÁd, our Soulmate, in a true relationship that we built together. We will no longer mourn the destruction, but looking back we will finally understand its purpose, and we will celebrate. Then, even the shattering will deserve the blessing of Á Tov. Á Please see our site for more insights into the wedding rituals. All imagery by. This is part 7 of the 9-part series. This is it, the time has come. With so much preparation carried out for this very moment, the ring placed upon the finger, every guest in the room hurriedly preparing their iPhones to take a shot, and clearing their vocal chords to shout ÁMazal TovÁ, itÁs time to breaká the glass!
Such is the synonymy between Jewish weddings and smashing a glass, that we hear the most uber-cool Jewish wedding blog has been named after this very tradition. This site wasnÁt named ÁDancing the HoraÁ or ÁEating the CanapösÁ, but, as this is THE moment of the Jewish wedding. The glass, usually wrapped up in a cloth or napkin, is placed on the floor in front of the groom. However before it is smashed, itÁs traditional at most Jewish weddings for the Rabbi or Chazan (Cantor) to sing a Hebrew song called, or in EnglishÁ ÁIf I forget you, JerusalemÁ. This commemorates the falling of Jerusalem and destruction of the two Jewish temples that once stood there. ItÁs said that whenever Jewish people experience immense joy, they should also remember the less joyous times in their ancestry. With celebration comes commemoration. So once the less beautiful times have been remembered, the time comes for the groom to break the glass. Why is this done? Great question. There are many reasons that Jewish grooms break a glass at the end of their ceremony, sealing the marriage to their Bride. The first being, in keeping with the song that had just been sung, to commemorate the destruction faced by Jewish people over the past two thousand years, a nod to the suffering that had come before. After all, if you can remember the dark times even on the brightest of days, youÁll never allow them to be forgotten. Beyond that, the interpretations range from the humorous, such as this is probably the last time the groom will ever get to put his foot down, to the much more beautiful reason (a personal favourite) that smashing a valuable item symbolises a marriage is not about material goods, but about two people being together and committed to each other.
Another great interpretation of this tradition is that by breaking the glass, all potential cracks in the relationship go onto the glass, and the relationship should remain seamless and wonderful always. So the foot goes down, the glass is smashed, the bride and groom are married, two families have come together, everyone shouts ÁMazal TovÁ and gets ready to party. What next? What becomes of this heap of broken glass, lying alone in a cloth on the floor beneath the chuppah? Many couples choose to have something made from their glass, a mosaic in a frame or something equally decorative. Many artists, showcasing their work online, offer to create a beautiful piece to be displayed in the marital home, so the Bride and Groom get to see their glass every day. For this reason, many couples choose to have a coloured or even multi-coloured vessel, knowing that itÁll look great above the fireplace or up in the hallway a few months after the wedding. Smashing the glass is a wonderful tradition, and one which can mean a different thing to many Brides and Grooms. Personalise it, make it your own, and know that this moment truly marks the start of your married life together. In next week sá instalment of,á weÁll look atá Yichud,á whichá is when the newly married couple spend a few moments alone together in private before joining their guests. In fact, in times past, this is when the marriage would have been consummated. Learn everything there is to know about this very special ritualá next week. Words and imagery by, one of Smashing The Glass s. á
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