The Wedding of
Dear Family and Friends,
It is with great joy that we welcome you this evening to share in the celebration of our wedding. We are excited to be creating our first memories as a married couple with you.
May all the love and happiness we feel tonight touch the hearts of each of you herein person, in thought, and in spirit.
Rachel and David
The Wedding Party
Parents of the Bride
Parents of the Groom
Maid of Honor
Maid of Honor
Before the public ceremony begins, Rachel and David join together with their immediate family and close friends to sign the Ketubah, the marriage contract that Jewish law requires the groom to give to the bride. The Ketubah recognizes that both love and legal commitment are necessary in a Jewish marriage and restates the fundamental conditions that the Torah imposes upon the husband. The Ketubah expresses the customary moral and financial obligations of a husband and wife to each other.
The Badeken, the veiling ceremony, follows the signing of the Ketubah. By lowering the veil over his bride’s face himself, the groom ensures that he is marrying the right woman and is not making the same mistake as our forefather Jacob, who was tricked into marrying Leah instead of her sister, Rachel. Also, by “dressing” his bride with a veil, the groom sets her apart from all others.
The wedding canopy is called the chuppah, which means “that which covers or floats above.” The chuppah symbolizes the new home the couple will establish, as a temporary structure. The chuppah reminds us of the fragility of life, and it is also reminiscent of Abraham’s dwelling, open on all four sides, welcoming all. The chuppah is also a sign of G-d’s presence at the wedding. The presence of family and friends under the chuppah reminds us that it is people who help give strength and stability to the marriage, rather than the physical structure of the home. Having family and friends under the chuppah establishes the tradition of hospitality.
Traditionally the bride circles her groom seven times as she arrives at the chuppah. Rachel and David have chosen to fulfill the tradition by each circling the other three times, as the word “betroth” appears three times in Hosea (2:21-22) “And I will betroth you unto me forever. And I will betroth you unto me in righteousness, and in justice, and in loving kindness, and in mercy; and I will betroth you unto me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord.” They will then circle together one more time. This mutual circling symbolizes their desire to protect one another and be bound together in their love.
Erusin, the betrothal ceremony, begins with the blessing over the wine followed by the blessing of bethrothal. The bride and groom share the cup of wine as a reminder that they will share the rest of their lives together. David then places the ring on Rachel’s right index finger, considered to be the ring finger because it contains a special artery to the heart. David recites: “Haray at m’kudeshet lee btabaa’at zoh k’dat Moshe v’Yisroel. By this ring you are consecrated to me as my wife in accordance with the laws of Moses and the people of Israel.” The number of letters in Hebrew phrase is also the numerical value of the letters in the Hebrew word for heart – lev. By giving Rachel this ring, David also gives her his heart. Once David has recited these words, the marriage is legalized according to Jewish law. Although only one ring is required, Rachel will also give David a ring as a token of her affection and recite: “Haray ata m’kudeshet lee btabaa’at zoh k’dat Moshe v’Yisroel…By this ring you are consecrated to me as my husband in accordance with the laws of Moses and the people of Israel.”
Reading the Ketubah
Following the exchange of rings, the Erusin concludes with Rabbi _______ reading the Ketubah aloud in Aramaic with an explanation in English. David gives it to Rachel for her safekeeping. The reading of the Ketubah marks the separation between the Erusin and the Nissuin portions of the ceremony.
The focus of the Nissuin is the Sheva Brachot, the seven wedding blessings. The seven blessings show that marriage is not only a contractual relationship, but a sanctification of two souls to a Jewish way of life. Cantor ___________ will chant the Sheva Brachot and Rabbi __________ will read them.
Cantor______ and Rabbi_______
Baruch ata adonai eloheinu
asher bara sason v’simcha
geela, reena, deetza v’chedva,
ahava v’achava v’shalom v’reut
M’heira adonai eloheinu,
yishama b’arei Yehudah
kol sason v’kol simcha
kol chatan, v’kol kalah
kol mitzhalot chatanim michupatam
un’arim mimishtei n’ginatam
Baruch ata adonai m’sameach
chatan im hakala
1. PRAISED ARE YOU, LORD GOD, WHOSE PRESENCE FILLS THE UNIVERSE,
CREATOR OF THE FRUIT OF THE VINE, THE SYMBOL OF OUR JOY.
2. PRAISED ARE YOU, LORD GOD, WHOSE PRESENCE FILLS THE UNIVERSE,
WHO CREATED ALL THINGS FOR YOUR GLORY.
3. PRAISED ARE YOU, LORD GOD, WHOSE PRESENCE FILLS THE UNIVERSE,
CREATOR OF MAN AND OF WOMAN.
4. PRAISED ARE YOU, LORD GOD, WHOSE PRESENCE FILLS THE UNIVERSE,
WHO CREATED MAN AND WOMAN IN YOUR IMAGE, AND SHARED WITH THEM THE POWER TO PERPETUATE LIFE. PRAISED ARE YOU, LORD, CREATOR OF MAN AND OF WOMAN.
5. MAY ZION REJOICE AS HER CHILDREN ARE RESTORED TO HER IN JOY.
PRAISED ARE YOU, LORD, WHO CAUSES ZION TO REJOICE WITH HER CHILDREN.
6. GRANT PERFECT JOY TO THESE LOVING FRIENDS, LORD, AS YOU DID TO THE FIRST MAN AND WOMAN IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN. PRAISED ARE YOU, LORD, WHO BRINGS JOY TO BRIDE AND GROOM.
7. PRAISED ARE YOU, LORD GOD, WHOSE PRESENCE FILLS THE UNIVERSE, CREATOR OF BRIDE AND GROOM, JOY AND GLADNESS, DELIGHT AND CELEBRATION, LOVE AND HARMONY, PEACE AND SWEET COMPANIONSHIP. LORD OUR GOD, MAY THERE EVER BE HEARD IN THE CITIES OF JUDAH AND THE STREETS OF JERUSALEM, AND IN ALL THE CORNERS OF THE WORLD -- THE VOICE OF JOY AND GLADNESS, THE MUSIC OF WEDDING CELEBRATIONS, THE SOUNDS OF FEASTING AND SINGING. PRAISED ARE YOU, LORD, WHO BLESSES BRIDE AND GROOM WITH JOY.
Breaking the glass
The ceremony ends with David breaking a glass. There are several interpretations that have been ascribed to this ancient custom. The most popular of which is that breaking a glass serves as a reminder that even in the midst of great joy, the sorrow over the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem is still keenly felt. The fragility of glass also suggests the frailty of human relationships. The glass is broken to protect the marriage with an implied prayer: “As this glass shatters, so may our marriage never break.” The breaking of the glass sets off vibrant wishes of “Mazel Tov” or “Good Luck.” As Rachel and David begin their life as a married couple, the glass that will be used in the ceremony is one which has been given to the couple by close friends.
It is customary for the newly married couple to share some time in privacy to reflect on the sanctity of their wedding ceremony and rejoice in their new life. During Yichud, the bride and groom feed each other, a token that they will sustain each other throughout their marriage. After Yichud, they are ready to join their family and friends to celebrate.
It is considered a big mitzvah (“moral imperative”) to dance and celebrate with a bride and groom.
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