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עשה תורתך קבע – אמור מעט ועשה הרבה

The Season of our Joy!

Posted by rabbiart on July 9, 2008

Miriam and Walter asked me to provide a description of the wedding ceremony, so I thought I would post it here as a way of expressing our joy.

Under the Chuppah
A Brief Explanation of the Jewish Wedding

Basic Components and Historical Background
The essential elements of a Jewish wedding are one artifact – the ring – one document – the Ketubah – (literally a “writing”, but understood to mean the wedding contract), and two ceremonies; the Kiddushin (betrothal), and the Nisuin (literally “lifting up”, but understood to mean the marriage ceremony).  Historically, a man could acquire a wife through money (seen today in the ring), a contract (seen today the ketubah), or sexual intercourse (best not seen except by bride and groom!).  The ketubah specifies the husband’s obligation to his wife during marriage, conditions of inheritance, child support, and support for his wife in the event of a divorce.

For much of Jewish history, the wedding was the process by which a man acquired a wife, with all that this implies.  The kiddushin and the nisuin were separated by a significant period of time. Once the kiddushin took place, the woman was legally the wife of the man, but only so far as being prohibited to all other men.  Marital obligations and relations were only created by the ceremonies of nisuin.

In all cases, a woman could only be acquired with her consent; without consent, the marriage could not be constructed.

What You See Today
The two ceremonies of kiddushin and nisuin have been collapsed into a single ceremony which takes place under the huppah (marriage canopy).  Everyone present greets the bride and groom bruchim ha’baim b’shem ado-nai (Blessed are those who enter for the sake of G-d).  The kiddushin are conducted with a “wine blessing” and a blessing that sets the bride and groom apart from all other sexual relations and preliminarily permits them to have relations with each other.  The bride and groom will exchange rings  and declare that they are consecrated to each other according to the laws of Moses and the people of Israel.  Then the nisuin part of the ceremony takes place. This consists of reciting a set of seven traditional blessings.  Immediately after the bride and groom exit the huppah, they spend some time alone together; this is knows as yihud (joining together).  Then (for the wedding of Miriam and Walter) it’s on to the eight-course Chinese/Klezmer reception.


One Response to “The Season of our Joy!”

  1. rumnasymn said

    It’s amazing

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