Thursday, December 16, 2010

Breaking The Wine Glass At A Jewish Wedding

 At a Jewish wedding, the ceremony is always concluded by the breaking of a wine glass, traditionally under the foot of the groom. The most common explanation for this is to remind those assembled at the wedding that even the times of our greatest joy are diminished by the destruction of the Bet HaMikdash, the Holy Temple.

A friend of mine, Simcha Adelstein, heard a different explanation from his grandmother, Sosha bas Shimon, a woman who grew up in the Ukraine steeped in Jewish tradition.

According to Sosha bas Shimon, a critical thing to note in the breaking of a wine glass is that the break is permanent. A wine glass can not, practically speaking ever be reassembled. According to Sosha bas Shimon, breaking the wine glass is an expression of hope that the couple being married should have a marriage as irrevocably permanent as the broken state of a wine glass, that like the shattered goblet, that the marriage should likewise be permanent.

It is most natural to see the breaking of a useful object as something negative. This interpretation of a distinctive part of a Jewish wedding extracts a positive message, a message of hope. This approach to life, of seeing the good in what seems on the surface to be negative, is an approach that strengthens any relationship. It is certainly a desirable attitude with which to begin a marriage.

There is wisdom not only in books, but in the people whose lives are shaped by those books. My friend Simcha learned a valuable lesson from his grandmother, a lesson cloaked in a metaphor that lends added resonance to one of life's truths. I thank my friend reb Simcha for sharing the wisdom of his grandmother. May her memory be a blessing. Sphere: Related Content

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