My apologies for the delay in posting part 2. I had a moment of letting my guard down, clicked on a bad link in my email and lost my computer. Thank goodness for my iPad, but it’s really hard to type a lot on it. My computer is back, and I’m back posting!
So…I left you last at the bride walking up the aisle to the Chuppah. Oh- and a note about the Chuppah, it is usually 4 poles attached to fabric, symbolizing the new home the couple will make together. It’s open on all sides to signify the couple will grow and will welcome visitors and the community. Traditionally the groom’s tallis (prayer shawl) is used as the fabric. We used my husband’s tallis, but since his was white and burgundy, my mother the consumate artist was unhappy with the color clash. So she had it sewn into an all white fabric. Only the people under the chuppah could see his tallis.
Okay, back to the actual ceremony…The bride gets up to her groom, and does she stand still? No, she does not. She will walk in a circle 7 times around the groom, often reciting prayers, or often just counting to 7. I was a counter. There’s a variety of explanations for the circling, one of which is that it establishes the couple as a single unit within the community.
Then the ceremony is turned over to the Rabbi or any learned Jewish person who is authorized by the state to administer a wedding. We had not one but four ordained rabbis at my wedding. Only 1 lead the ceremony. He said some prayers, he made a nice speech about us, and then he turned it over to my husband’s best friend, a wonderful musician who sang the Sheva Brachot, or Seven Blessings. These are the traditional prayers sung over the bride and groom. For a translation, look here: http://www.cantorli-paz.com/shevaBrachot.pdf
The groom is asked to repeat one traditional sentence: I am consecrated unto you according to the laws of Moses and Israel. Then he places the ring on the bride’s right index finger. The bride says nothing. If she chooses, and most modern brides do, she can repeat what the groom said, or she can pick something else to say. I chose a passage from Song of Songs: My beloved is Mine, and I am his. Of course, I messed it up totally and ended up saying something like “I love myself and myself alone” My Rabbi shrugged and said “Close enough” LOL
After the blessings, the bride is given her Ketubah, her marriage contract, the promises the groom makes to her. I am often blown away that Judaism is one of the only religions who makes the groom have legal obligations to his bride. I could do a whole other blog post about the Ketubah, and perhaps will one day. Many couples turn theirs into works of art. (we did) and get creative with the words of the document (we didn’t). For a translation of the traditional text, check here: http://www.jewishcelebrations.com/Wedding/Orthodox/KetubahText.htm
And then comes the breaking of the glass- perhaps the most famous of the Jewish wedding traditions. A glass is wrapped in a napkin and placed by the groom’s foot, who smashes it. And the guests yell MAZAL TOV!! Many modern couple choose to convert the shards into something decorative for their home. (we did)
And the ceremony is complete…mostly. check back in Monday for the final bits…