Simchas in Seattle

Common Questions about Jewish Weddings

How Does Jewish Tradition View Marriages

According to Jewish tradition, marriages are made in heaven with God as the matchmaker. The rabbis view marriage as the ideal human state.

Marriages are a public commitment of a private commitment. They create a shared history between two people. Through marriage, the couple is creating a sacred bond between themselves and God.

Why Does a Couple Need a Rabbi?

The rabbi is the representative of the Jewish people at the wedding ceremony. Rabbis make sure that certain Jewish traditions are performed during the wedding ceremony. The rabbi is not an intermediary on behalf of the couple before God. Rabbis are not priests.

 Why is a glass broken at the end of the ceremony?

The groom stomps on a glass wrapped in a napkin to conclude the wedding ceremony. This custom was first mentioned in the Talmud. A rabbi was concerned with the jubilation at his son’s wedding; therefore, he threw a goblet against the wall to keep the revelers from getting out-of-control.

Later in the middle ages, the groom threw a glass against the wall to keep away demons. It was thought that demons would spoil the wedding and kidnap the bride.

Several hundred years ago, this practice was reinterpreted to mean that the broken glass reminds us of the destruction of the Temple. Even during times of joy, we need to remember the pain of the Jewish people.

Now there are many interpretations for this custom: love, like glass, is fragile and must be protected; a couple must treat each other carefully as they would delicate glass.

Breaking the glass ends the ceremony. Now the celebration begins.

What is a Ketubah?

A traditional ketubah (meaning “that which is written”) is a Jewish marriage document, whose basic Aramaic text has remained essentially unchanged for hundreds of years. Each document states the names of the bride and groom and their respective fathers, the date of marriage and the city in which the event took place.

Under the terms of the ketubah, the groom agrees to support his bride during the marriage and to settle payment on her in case of his death or the dissolution of the marriage. The ketubah also ensures that widows will not be left penniless or be thrown out of their homes by their heirs.

Contemporary ketubahs are not legal documents, but essentially statements of love and affection between the bride and the groom. A modern ketubah focuses on the couple’s feelings about each other and the marriage they’re about to begin. A modern ketubah is an egalitarian text. The ketubah is signed by the bride and groom as well as two witnesses.

The ketubah ceremony involves a brief explanation of the customs of the ketubah and the signing of the ketubah. This ceremony usually takes place with the immediate family and a close circle of friends present.

Couples today can order ketubahs online or consult with artists to create their own imagery and wording. Many ketubahs are designed specifically for interfaith couples.

The following are some internet sources for purchasing a ketubah: