Should I marry a Jewish girl
Washing and fasting as preparation
Jewish bride and groom are not allowed to see each other before the wedding: the two of them have to stay away from each other for 24 hours or even for a week in strict communities. Separately, they go to the Jewish bath (mikveh) for ritual cleansing. They must also fast, at least from the morning of their wedding day. It is not allowed to marry on the Sabbath and during the period of mourning between Passover and Shavuot.
The wedding ceremony takes place outdoors if possible, otherwise in a large festival hall. The groom first meets with the male wedding guests for prayer. Then he signs the marriage contract (ketubba) in the presence of the rabbi and two witnesses.
This document is written in Aramaic and has a long tradition that goes back at least to the 5th century BC. The text is almost always the same and mainly contains the husband's duties of care. Only the amount for the dowry and financial arrangements in the event of a divorce will be adjusted.
In the meantime, however, there are also marriage contracts in liberal communities in which the talk is not so much about money, but rather about mutual acceptance of responsibility.
Marriage under the chuppah
Then the groom is led to the bride, who sits unveiled on a kind of throne. He is accompanied by married men. After the groom has veiled the bride's face, he is led under the canopy (chuppah) by his companions.
The four rods of this artfully made fabric roof, which symbolizes the future home of the two lovers, are held by unmarried wedding guests. Mother and mother-in-law or two other women accompany the bride to the canopy. In the Orthodox ceremony, the bride walks around her groom seven times.
The rabbi steps up and speaks blessings. Then the bridegroom puts a ring on his bride and says in Hebrew: "With this ring you are sworn to me according to the law of Moses and Israel." Meanwhile, in liberal circles, the groom also receives a ring from his bride.
With this act, the couple is officially married. A cup of wine, which symbolizes the "cup of life", is blessed and both of them drink from it. Then the bridegroom crushes an empty glass in memory of the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem and the fragility of happiness. He quotes from the Bible, "If I should forget you, Jerusalem, my right arm should be forgotten."
The newly married couple are left alone in a room - immediately with Orthodox and later after the celebration with Liberals. The second element of "sanctification", as the wedding ceremony is called, follows: the consummation of marriage. The marriage is only completed after the cohabitation. Then the couple mingles again with the celebrating guests.
The importance of marriage in Judaism
Even at the time of circumcision, the boy is asked to be "led to the Torah, to marriage and to good deeds". Marriage and family are highly valued in Judaism and are often justified by the fact that God himself created man and woman for one another in the creation story.
A rabbi is even supposed to interrupt his Torah study when a wedding procession passes his window and accompanies him in honor of the bride. A commandment to be celibate, as it exists, for example, in Christianity for priests, nuns or monks, contradicts this Jewish way of thinking.
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