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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 14, 2006 / 18 Sivan, 5766

Marriage is more than a living arrangement rewarded with financial privileges

By Rabbi Berel Wein


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Activists may claim otherwise

Amid "wedding season," a short overview of the traditional Jewish matrimonial ceremony


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | June is a popular month for weddings the world over. In the Jewish world, the period after sefira, its end marked by the recent holiday of Shavuos, makes this time of the year especially busy with weddings.

The beauty, simplicity and nobility of the Jewish wedding ceremony are dictated to us by Talmudic tradition and rabbinic law. The ceremony is based on the name that the Talmud grants to the Jewish concept of betrothal and marriage — kiddushin — sanctification and holiness. Though marriage is a "contract" between a man and a woman for living together, it is much more than that. At the root of the Jewish marriage ceremony is the understanding that marriage is much greater than the sum of its individual parts.

And it is to this unspoken, almost indefinable area of marriage and married life, that the Jewish marriage ceremony is addressed. It makes the unspoken and ephemeral bond of marriage, its love connection, loyalty and fealty to one another, the centerpiece of what would otherwise perhaps be only a legal and dry arrangement, certified in its legality in a law court or consulate.

The Jewish wedding ceremony comes to transcend the purely legal aspect of the arrangement and to infuse it with spirituality and a whiff of eternity.

The first part of the wedding ceremony deals with the exclusivity of the relationship between the bride and the groom. Judaism places a great deal of weight as to this exclusivity. A violation of its principle is deemed to be the ultimate betrayal in life.

Infidelity bespeaks a lack of true commitment and without commitment one to another marriage is merely a legal sham. This sense of commitment and loyalty, of the exclusivity of the relationship, precedes all else in the marriage relationship. The Jewish wedding ceremony does not allow itself to speak of joy, love, companionship and happiness as of yet. It is the iron-bound discipline of commitment and exclusivity that must first be established. Only after it is in place and understood can there be praise and recognition of the joys of love and companionship that a marriage can entail.

After this initial set of blessings, the groom brings the bride into their new mutual life together by placing the wedding ring on her finger. Technically, a ring per se is not required for other items of value may also be used. But the custom of using a ring is millennia-old and is universal in practice. The ring represents the circle of our lives, the seamless connection now being created between two human beings, and that in terms of their souls now knows no beginning or end.

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In Ashkenazic (descendants of eastern European Jews) custom, the kesubah, the actual legal contract between the parties, is read publicly. In many Sephardic (Middle Eastern) communities, the actual reading of the kesubah in a public fashion is dispensed with and instead words of blessing and inspiration are delivered by the officiate or a family member.

The ceremony then has the final seven blessings recited. It is these blessings that deal with the joy, warmth, companionship and contentment that marriage can bring to a man and woman. They also deal with the fact that spirituality, faith and G-d are also part of a successful Jewish marriage.

Judaism views G-d as the invisible but indispensable third presence in any Jewish marriage. G-d is seen as the first matchmaker, so to speak, between Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

The Talmud states that G-d eternally continues to pair individuals one with another to form a marriage.

The marriage ceremony recognizes and pays homage to this fact and includes thankfulness and appreciation to the Creator for having forged the bond between the individuals that the marriage ceremony now records and activates. It also points out that the joy of the couple is bound together with the eventual joy of Israel, Jerusalem, Jewish redemption and rebuilding. The individual couple, no matter how devoted these individuals may be to one another, is nevertheless inextricably connected to the Jewish whole, its history and destiny.

The breaking of a glass is also part of the Jewish wedding ceremony. It indicates the fragility of human life so that otherwise unlimited frivolity at the wedding celebration is thus muted. After the destruction of the Temple, the breaking of the glass came to signify our sense of loss over the destruction of the Temple. All joy is tempered with sorrow and a sense of loss.

Nevertheless, the simplicity and beauty of a Jewish wedding ceremony cheers me and points me towards the future, which hopefully brings comfort and purpose to one's life and being.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes inspiring articles. Sign up for our daily update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Rabbi Berel Wein --- Jewish historian, author and international lecturer offers a complete selection of CDs, audio tapes, video tapes, DVDs, and books on Jewish history at www.rabbiwein.com Comment by clicking here.


© 2006, Rabbi Berel Wein