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Marriage is normally a ceremony done in churches, in government premises, or in modern ones like beaches and gardens. It is usually done as a sign of love between two people. Marriage used to be a very sacred ceremony as two people say their vows to each other. Different cultures do this in different manners. In this paper, we will discover how the Orthodox Jewish wedding is done. This would prove the diversity of cultures in the world and how the Jewish community carries out their traditions and belief.
This is divided into three parts that include the preparations done before the wedding, the set up days before the wedding and the wedding proper. When two people fall in love, what they want to end up mostly is a bride and a groom or a husband and a wife. Although it is altered by some other reasons in the modern times, the idea of marriage is still considered sacred by most of us. Although socio-economic status, health, dynasty and other things affect the people’s view on marriage, we still cannot take away the fact that the people who get married always ask for a happy life.
Whatever reason they may have, the bottom line is still that they are searching for contentment in any way. A Jewish wedding day, the same with all other religions, is something that they really celebrate. Different kinds of rituals happen weeks before and during this day, in consideration of their history and heritage. As soon as the couple gets engaged, rituals already take place. It includes breaking a plate to represent the temples in Jerusalem that were destructed. It is to signify that even if they are enjoying in the celebration of the wedding, they are still saddened with the fact that these temples were destroyed before.
It is also usual for the parents to do the arrangement of the wedding, with the help of someone like a match-maker called Yenta. Although this is so, the groom is still required to ask the bride’s father for her hand in marriage and to pay a dowry in exchange of the bride (Retrieved on December 11, 2008 from http://www. bbc. co. uk/religion/religions/judaism/rites/weddings_1. shtml). Judaism sees this practice as sacred. They think that without a man and a woman, each of the sexes will never be complete. They complement each other and each compensates what the other loses.
They also teach in their doctrines that any person without getting married doesn’t experience the absolute joy and contentment in this life. It means that being married gives satisfaction to people, especially when they are blessed by God. When referring to marriage, they usually use the term “sanctification” which usually refers to the spirituality of the bond that binds two people and of the commandment made by God. They also see it as something that has a purpose. They view marriage as a perquisite to reproduction and friendship. It is both procreation and companionship.
In the bible, as they believe, “It is not good for a man to be alone”. It is also a practice of each person’s legal rights through a contractual agreement where they sign on. Although there were times when the Jews were dispersed all over the world, they are still successful in preserving this practice as they live. This is probably because they really believe in the practice, because through it, history proves that families stayed stable and happy when they underwent the same kind of marriage . Jewish weddings are almost the same. They are made easier by the Rabbis by asking for a very minimal requirement. The Rabbis is the one who makes the laws in this kind of ritual (Retrieved on December 11, 2008 from http://www. confetti. co. uk/article/view/5054-7598-0-). Marriage in the Orthodox Jewish is very much full of traditions that show practice and devotion. In planning their weddings, every detail is very important. They take the preparation as a challenge of their capacity and a challenge to celebrate the wedding successfully.
They pay too much attention to all the needs of the ceremony that makes every wedding a perfect one. The Orthodox Jews are believed to be the strictest among the strands of the Jewish faith. Their wedding ceremony is done by combining the legal and religious aspects of marriage. In case one of the couple is non-Jewish, he or she is asked to convert to the same religion. They believe that happiness cannot be achieved if they don’t undergo marriage, which is a license to fulfillment in the world.
Also, it is said that when they get married, they don’t just focus on material and temporal elements of the preparation, but they also assure that their doctrines are properly carried out and that their spiritual and moral preparedness is enveloped on the marriage itself. It just proves that although their marriage is after a good life on earth, they still put in more consideration the supernatural and their religion per se (Retrieved on December 11, 2008 from http://www. confetti. co. uk/article/view/5054-7598-0-). Planning an Orthodox Jewish wedding is very tedious.
They must consider a lot of things for them to be able to come up with a successful one. Most of the Jewish couple provides a planner that would make it easier for them to see chronologically their plans and the specifics of the ceremony. Through that, they will be able to get organized and efficient in the planning of the main event. The date of the wedding is usually known after they already register with a synagogue and Rabbi at the Chief Rabbi’s office. The time of the day and the day itself are also given much attention to in planning a wedding.
It is usual to marry in the afternoon or in the evening, but you can also marry anytime of the day according to what the couple desires. Most of them, however, choose to marry on days like Sunday and Tuesday. It is also not allowed to do the wedding three weeks between July and August and on the Sabbath of festival days (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Passover Shavuot, and Sukkoth). In case, they want to get married on a Saturday, they prohibit doing the ceremony earlier than two hours before the sun is down (Retrieved on December 11, 2008 from http://www. onfetti. co. uk/article/view/5054-7598-0-).
In general, the first thing to do in planning it is to choose a date that they both want. They usually choose special days like the birth or the death of their rabbis to make a more meaningful celebration. Like other people getting married, they choose a date that means something to them or a date that is significant in their relationship. They also must specify a place or a venue which has enough space for dancing and a wide area where you can put a divider to separate men and women for modesty’s sake.
They are very much particular with modesty which they can prove by separating people of different sexes during the wedding ceremony. They must also choose a rabbi to preside the wedding ceremony and a sofer or a Jewish scribe to take charge of the Ketuba or the marriage contract. After that, they must tell their relatives and friends about the wedding and invite them to attend on it. Attendees on this kind of practice matters a lot to the couple because the wedding would not mean anything at all without the presence of a specific number of people.
Once they confirm their attendance, they can already inform the caterer about the approximate number of visitors. This is usually done to avoid hassles to both families of the groom and the bride and to assure that everyone eats enough as they celebrate that most important part of their couple life. After that, they must inform those people who are taking part in the wedding to dress accordingly. This is also a sign of respect to the practice. The female ones must use clothes covering the knees and the arms to the elbows, while the married ones must cover their air. Men must wear yarmulkes.
The couple must make the wedding canopy from a cloth that is velvet or from a prayer shawl. This is to signify the clouds that helped Jews with everything when they were in the desert. They must make sure that they have the dress, rings without anything engraved in them, and the other things. The bride must make sure she has a veil thicker than the others’ to wear it on the wedding day. From that, they must find a schedule to do the veiling ritual prior the wedding ceremony. It is said that such a practice symbolizes the biblical story that happened between Jacob and Rachel, when they planned to get married.
They must assign seven men to utter the words of blessings with a wine. Lastly, they must secure a room for the couple where they can spend on after the wedding proper. They are expected to stay there before they eat and spend time together alone for a certain period (Retrieved on December 11, 2008 from http://www. ehow. com/how_2077192_plan-orthodox-jewish-wedding. html). The wedding invitation is usually two sided and has an English translation at the right side. It does not ask for the person’s presence, instead it is asking people to “dance at” or “share in the joy of”.
In this kind of ritual, visitors are very important, because they play a very vital role in the process. The copies of the invitation may be distributed and may be given by the couple or both of their parents. Sometimes, the invitation also includes biblical quotes to explain people why such thing is done or to further elaborate the importance of each part of the program (Retrieved on December 11, 2008 from http://www. weddingdetails. com/lore/jewish. cfm). All of the guests are provided with copy of the program for them to know exactly what part they are in during the wedding proper.
It may also include some Ketuba texts, the vendors’ names, a note coming from the bridal couple and some explanations of the different elements of the ceremony. This is also done to avoid unnecessary noises when they ask others why a particular thing is done (Retrieved on December 11, 2008 from http://www. weddingdetails. com/lore/jewish. cfm). The Orthodox bride must prepare something white, while the groom must have a short white linen robe called a kittel. The bride is also expected to visit mikyah in the morning of her wedding.
This is done to make sure that the bride undergoes a ritual bath that is believed to purify her and to make her a better woman as she gets married (Retrieved on December 11, 2008 from http://www. weddingdetails. com/lore/jewish. cfm). It is also a must, that in able for a couple to get married in the Orthodox Jewish tradition, it is a perquisite that their parents also married in the same manner. Usually, both of their parents underwent the same practice. If in case their parents did not undergo the practice, they must talk to the rabbi for clarification.
The ceremony includes singing and reading from the psalms. The wedding usually takes an hour before it finally ends. The wedding can actually occur anywhere, depending on what the groom and the bride choose. Given a desired venue, the bride or the Kallah and the groom or the Chatan, must stand under a canopy. The venue as chosen by them is usually paid by the bride’s parents. The validity of the wedding depends on the number of males present. There must e ten of them, which in their tradition, is called minyan (Retrieved on December 11, 2008 from http://www. confetti. co. uk/article/view/5054-7598-0-).
Prior to the ceremony, the groom may spend time with his friends as eat and drink together on a table, called chassans tisch. Brides, on the other hand, take three or seven times circling her groom which is also a practice based on their bible (Retrieved on December 11, 2008 from http://www. weddingdetails. com/lore/jewish. cfm). When the guests arrive on the wedding day, males go with the groom in a certain room, while the female ones go with the bride in another room where she sits on a throne-type chair.
This is called “public beckoning” and may be spent with just family and other guests (Retrieved on December 11, 2008 from http://www. eddingdetails. com/lore/jewish. cfm). A service usually starts with the opening from the rabbi, followed by a bride being escorted to the canopy. It is then followed by a ritual of circling the groom by the bride. This also has a hidden meaning. The benedictions are read after and then the sharing of the cup of wine. The exchange of the rings is then done, followed by the reading of ketuba. Another cup of wine is offered which is shared by the groom and the bride. It was first blessed and told with a prayer for the companionship and joy of the newly wed.
Later on, they are proclaimed as husband and wife and they are showered with rice and are greeted with a toast (Retrieved on December 11, 2008 from http://www. weddingdetails. com/lore/jewish. cfm). During the marriage proper, the groom is asked to read from the Torah. That ritual is called Aufruf. Further, it is like a way of congratulating the couple, and letting the public know that they are getting married soon. In the same practice, some brides throw candies and nuts as he finishes the recitation of the benedictions. Through that, they are able to ask for a sweet and fertile life. The groom gives his bride a ring that is a sign of love.
It is put on the bride’s right index finger, up to the second knuckle. It is so, because they believe that such a finger points to the soul and that it is used in pointing when they are reading the Torah. On the contrary, she puts the ring on his left ring finger. As they are doing this, they are reciting a Hebrew statement called haray aht (Retrieved on December 11, 2008 from http://www. weddingdetails. com/lore/jewish. cfm). In summary, preparing for the Orthodox Jewish Wedding is no easy thing. It requires a lot of effort to come up with an acceptable wedding that takes in consideration both the earthly and the religious aspect of life.
Through this paper, we can also picture that even if there are still more days before the wedding, the people are already busy planning the event and are already doing some practices for the benefit of the big day. The wedding proper shows that values of these people as they do the rituals associated with getting married. It is also very obvious that they are really trying hard to avoid getting away from the proper way of doing it. Before and after the wedding, they are very optimistic about their, because of their trust to the Almighty.
Everyone is looking forward to a happy and a blessed life ahead as they undergo the blessing of God through marriage. Celebration of their wedding is really something that the Jewish community must really be proud of. It is full of traditions that only their group inhibits and practices as well. Their culture is very rich and admirable. This is only a proof that cultures vary from place to place and that each culture has its beauty that everyone can admire. It is the Jewish community’s pride to have this and definitely, there are not just proud, but happy about acquiring this kind of culture.