When two Jews get married, it is more than two people celebrating and confirming their love. It is the re-play in miniature of the covenant between God and Israel. At that moment, the two beloveds are no longer themselves, but they become the first human beings, cradled yet again in the Garden of Eden, hearing the liturgy tell them that their marriage may be the piece that brings about a time of peace and harmony in our world. The mystics of our tradition sensed that a wedding itself was capable of raising all creation to a higher spiritual level. (Rabbi Alan Litwack)
Our Jewish Wedding Ceremony is rich in symbolism. The lessons taught by our traditional Jewish symbols are ones our tradition hopes a couple will take with them into their life together. Their purpose is to take those understandings which are already so much a part of the strength of their relationship and sanctify that knowledge by endowing it with the sacred imprimatur of our faith and our tradition.
Jewish tradition tells us that the rings they will exchange are like two circles that are drawn with an overlapping area, teaching that marriage means that they have a common ground and what affects one of you will affect the other also.
The wine, sipped from the same cup, is the symbol of sharing. As our Judaism teaches us, in marriage, we undertake to share the joys and the sorrows of life; marriage is a partnership making all our joys sweeter even as it softens all our sorrows.
The chuppah, the most ancient of all the objects associated with the wedding ceremony, represents the home the couple will now build together and the special, private relationship between them that excludes all others. It reminds us that even in the midst of family warmth, we must make room for the warmth and passion that can only be found in shared moments of privacy and togetherness.
Finally, there is the breaking of the glass, perhaps the one symbol universally associated with the Jewish wedding ceremony. For we Jews, it has come to symbolize marriage itself. We are taught that marriage, like a delicate glass, is a beautiful and fragile thing. If like that glass, we hold our marriages gently in our hands, carefully guarding and protecting it, our marriages, like the glass, will ever be a beautiful thing. However, as with a delicate glass, once shattered it can never again attain its original beauty.
All of these symbols combine to make a ceremony and a union of such sacred joy and meaning that it is “capable of raising all creation to a higher level”.
If you and your partner are considering marriage or planning a wedding, please contact the Rabbi at 973-584-5666 and she will be glad to help you in planning a most meaningful beginning to your life together. Couples are advised to avoid setting dates or reserving facilities before checking with the Rabbi to ensure availability on her calendar.