In Judaism , marriage is view as a contractual bond commanded by Elohim in which a man and a woman, and Adonai in the midst of them come together in a relationship. Marriage is actually called kiddushin, which translates as “sanctification” or “dedication.” It indicates that what is happening is not just a social arrangement or contractual agreement, but a spiritual bonding and the fulfillment of a mitzvah (commandment). A Jewish wedding is a ceremony that it is based on Jewish law and traditions. This includes: 1.ketubah (marriage contract), signed by two witnesses, 2. Wedding canopy (chuppah or huppah),3. Ring owned by the groom to be given to the bride and 4.The breaking of a glass.

1.Ketubah: This document is written in a manuscript that is to be framed and displayed at home (see the above image). This document is signed by both spouces before the wedding in the presence of two witnesses. The ketuvah, written in Aramaic, details the husband’s obligations to his wife: food, clothing, dwelling and pleasure. It also creates a lien on all his property to pay her a sum of money and support should he divorce her. It is tradition to read the document during the ceremony in the Chuppah, normally in a translation.

2.Chuppah: It is a canopy where the wedding ceremony takes place and it is a simbol of the couple new home. It is a decorated piece of cloth held aloft, it is usually held outside, under the stars, as a sign of the blessing given by Elohim. The groom is accompanied to the chuppah by his parents, and usually wears a white robe. Also inside the canopy when the bride arrives circles the groom seven times ( signifies completeness Jeremiah 31:22)

3.Bethrothal or presentation of the ring (kiddushin): before the exchange of the rings a kiddush is perform (blessing of the wine an bread), then the groom gives the bride a ring and recites “Behold, you are consecrated to me with this ring” and then the bride does the same and recites “I am of my beloved’s and my beloved is mine”. Also the Rabi recites seven blessings (Shava Brachot) and the spouces drink wine. The blessings begin with praising YHVH for His creation in general and for the creation of the human as a “two part creature,” woman and man. It express the hope that the new couple will rejoice together forever as Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. .

4.Breaking a glass: At the end of the ceremony the groom breaks a glass, stamping on it with his right foot. All present said “Mazel tov” (congratulations). At the end the couple goes away for 10 to 20 minutes to be together (an intimacy reserved only for a married couple).

In addition there are very important traditions such as:

1-Badeken is the ceremony where the Katán lifts the veil to let see the face of the Kalah, to make sure that he is receiving him the bride that he has chosen, thus avoiding the deception caused to Yaacov by the deceit of Laban, giving Leah instead of Raquel whom he loved.

2-The Katán and the Kalah do not wear jewels under the Jupah to symbolize that they not love material goods.

3-Shevá Brachot: The Seven blessings are recited in the second glass of wine. This connects the spouses with the eternal Elohim. The Brachot (blessings) are recited by the rabbi.

4-It is a mitzvah (commandment) that the guests bring Joy (Shimjá) to the parties the day of the ceremony.

5-It is customary for friends and family to honor the Katán and Kalah with festive meals during the following week.

6-All Jewish weddings include a lot of traditional dances in front of married couples. One of the most famous is the carriage of the groom and bride in chairs over the shoulders of friends and family to the dance floor.

Blessings to all the lucky couples

Rabbi Yosef Ben Marques © 2015

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