The Day We Said “I Do”

If you’ve ever seen a Jewish wedding in a big-budget movie, you probably remember seeing someone stomp on a wine glass—a solemn reminder of the destruction of the Temple.

This isn’t the only difference between Jewish and Christian weddings. Every detail of a traditional Jewish wedding is full of significance.

The bride and groom are married under a broad, cloth canopy called a chuppah, which often resembles a giant prayer shawl (tallit). The chuppah is an ancient custom, referenced in Joel 2:16 and Psalm 19:5. It represents the roof of the unified household that the couple will build together.

Before the two are formally joined together, much like in a Christian ceremony, they make solemn public promises. In Judaism these promises take the form of a contract, called a ketubah, that is legally binding under Jewish law. Among other rights and responsibilities, a ketubah binds the groom to provide for the bride’s financial needs in case of divorce. Often, the ketubah is a piece of artwork in itself, richly decorated and prominently placed in a Jewish home.


First Fruits of Zion