Question: some 2,000 years ago. This was indeed a significant event in Jewish history, but it doesnБt seem to have any relevance to me. What does a destroyed building have to do with my wedding? Answer: The destruction of the Holy Temple has extreme personal relevance. It happened to you. It is true that shattering the glass primarily commemorates the fall of Jerusalem; however, it is also a reminder of another cataclysmic shatteringБthat of your very own temple, your soul. Before you were born, you and your soulmate were one, a single soul. Then, as your time to enter this world approached,
shattered that single soul into two parts, one male and one female. These two half-souls were then born into the world with a mission to try to find each other and reunite. At the time, the split seemed tragic and incomprehensible. Why create fragmentation where there was once completion? Why break something just so it could be fixed? And if you were meant to be together, why didnБt GБd leave you together? It is under the, that these questions can be answered. With marriage, never to part again. Not only that, but you can look back at the painful experience of being separated and actually celebrate it.
For now it is clear that the separation brought you closer than you would otherwise have been. Ironically, it was only by being torn apart and living lives away from each other that were you able to develop as individuals, to mature and grow. Your coming together is something you had to achieve and choose, and therefore it is appreciated deeply. With the joyous reunion at the wedding, it becomes clear that your soul was split only in order to reunite and become one on a higher and deeper level. And so you break a glass under the chupah! Б Because now, in retrospect, even the splitting of souls is reason to be joyous, for it gave your connection the possibility for real depth and meaning. We see a parallel story in the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple was not merely a building; it was the meeting place of heaven and earth, the ideal and the real, GБd and creation. When the Temple was lost, so was the open relationship between GБd and the world. Our souls were ripped away from our Soulmate. The only antidote to fragmentation is unity.
And the deepest unity is experienced at a wedding. Every wedding is a healing, a mending of one fragmented soul, a rebuilding of Jerusalem in miniature. Our sages teach us, БWhoever celebrates with a bride and groom, it is as if he rebuilt one of the ruins of Jerusalem. Б When soulmates reunite in a holy marriage, an energy of love and oneness is generated, elevating the world and bringing it one step closer to mending its broken relationship with GБd. So you see, your personal story and the story of JerusalemБs destruction are inextricably linked. The shattering that happened to Jerusalem happened to your soul, and the joy you are experiencing now will one day be experienced by Jerusalem, too. One day soon, when the Temple is rebuilt, our souls will reunite with GБd, our Soulmate, in a true relationship that we built together. We will no longer mourn the destruction, but looking back we will finally understand its purpose, and we will celebrate. Then, even the shattering will deserve the blessing of Б Tov. Б Please see our site for more insights into the wedding rituals. A Jewish wedding ceremony is not complete without the groom breaking a glass under the wedding canopy (the Chuppah) by stamping on it with his foot.
The glass is usually thin and wrapped in a napkin to contain the fragments. P This is a beautiful way that Judaism links our current lives to the history of the Jewish people. At this joyous joining of two people in marriage a time of personal happiness Jews must be reminded that our joy cannot be complete as long as the Temple in Jerusalem is still destroyed. P We must remember the catastrophes that befell our own people as the destruction of the holy Second Temple in 70 CE and all subsequent sufferings of the Jewish people, and place the beginning of a married life within the framework of the joys and sorrows of Jews throughout history. P As the groom s action recalls the demolished house of God, the now married couple takes on the obligation to rebuild the Temple in their own lives by building a Jewish home as a miniature temple. There are several different meanings that have been devised for the ceremony of smashing the glass. P One interpretation is that the fragility of the glass symbolizes the fragility of trust, commitment and love that make up a marriage.
We must treat our relationship with special care. The promises made by the bride and groom, like the broken glass, are irrevocable. P It is also a reminder that although the couple came together as a single union, the world as a whole is broken and needs mending. Even in a moment of such great joy, we are asked to remember that there is still pain and suffering in the world, and we have a responsibility to relieve some of that suffering (the commandment of tikkun olam! ). The sound of the breaking glass is said to frighten away evil spirits who spoil this joyous occasion with their mischief. P Some people interpret the breaking of the glass as the hope that the couple s happiness and their children will be as plentiful as the shards of glass. On a lighter note, some Jews joke that this will be the last time the groom gets to put his foot down!! After the glass is broken everyone yells Mazel Tov, which means good luck, and the couple proceeds down the aisle to celebrate with friends and family!! Thank you, Gail Katz, for answering our question this week! To learn more about Gail,.