The Chuppah is the wedding canopy that the Jewish Bride and Groom stand under during the wedding ceremony. (Other spellings are chuppa, chupah, hoopa, huppa, huppah, and choopah.)
It is customary to have a Tallit (four-cornered garment that every Jewish man is commanded to wera daily) spread over the bride and groom during the chuppah ceremony.
Under the chuppah, the Rabbi makes a blessing over wine, the groom places the wedding ring on the bride's pointer finger, the Ketubah is read out loud, seven wedding blessings are recited, and the groom breaks a glass cup.
The chuppah should be held up by four poles. The chuppah canopy should be made out of cloth; one can even use the Tallit to be the canopy. Some have th tradition that the male Jewish singles hold up the Tallit, and that this will bring them their rightful shidduch (soulmate) promptly. There is also the custom to have the chuppah ceremony outside and under the stars, to suggest that the newly-wed couple should become plentiful like the stars.
As we mentioned, the Chuppah reminds us of the events on Mount Sinai whn th Jewish people received the Torah from G-d. Even though the Jewish nation accepted the Torah wholeheartedly, G-d insisted that they also keep the Torah out of fear, as well as out of love. This was done by lifting the mountain over their heads and stating that if the Jewish nation does not accept the Torah, the mountain will be dropped on them.
So too, one must enter the wedding covenant with immense love and also a sense of fear. Not a fear of what's coming, but rather a sense of reverence for the honliness of the aspect of marriage. Marriage is what keeps the world afloat and in harmony. All of nature is an amzing marriage and balance of different creatures and objects all working in harmony even though they are very different.
A man and woman are extremely different in their intrinsic nature. Therefore, much care, love, and reverence must be present in order for there to be harmony. If the couple only interact with each other when they are in a state of immense love, then there is a problem. They must understand that no matter what the situation, they must work together to build harmony. This is a life-long task and can be done if they have the right mindframe.
The chuppah represents that we must build harmony from all sides of our life, from all four directions of the world's winds, and we must be enclosed in our beautiful sanctuary called "marriage" no matter what happens.
The Jewish Wedding is considered one of the holiest occasions and ceremonies performed in all of the Jewish traditions. Most of the Jewish wedding customs and traditions are learned from the events that occurred when the Torah (Jewish Bible) was given on Mount Sinai.
The secrets and symbolism on which the Chuppah (Jewish wedding canopy), the Ketubah (marriage contract), the Jewish wedding ring, the Rabbi's blessing, the breaking of the glass cup, the dancing, and Badecken (ceremony before the Chuppah ceremony) are based on are really profound and can be studied for years on end.
In this blog I intend on reviewing many of these customs, and how they relate to the events of Mount Sinai, when the Jewish people received the Torah from G-d, and what we can learn from these customs that will help in our daily marriage life.
Quick Overview of the Jewish Wedding
According to th Jewish texts, the Jewish wedding is an extremely holy event and should not be introduced with light-headedness and frivolty. Especially by the Chuppah ceremony, one should conduct himself with utmost composure, for just like the Shekhina (Divine presence) was present by Mount Sinai, so too the Shekhina is present by the Chuppah ceremony. Therefore, many have the custom to pray during the Chuppah, since the Divine presence is there in its very essence.
The Rabbi represents Moses (known as Moshe in Hebrew) , and therefore one should try to find a suitable and holy Rabbi to perform the Chuppah ceremony. The Ketubah, also known as Ketuvah or Ktuvah, represents the Torah itself. Just like the Torah is a a unifying contract between the Jewish people and G-d, so too the Ketubah is a unifying contract between husband and wife. The wedding flowers represent the flowers that grew on Mount Sinai which was a miracle in itself, since it was located in the middle of the Desert where flowers do not normally grow.
The Chuppah represents and enclosure. The Jewish couple is enclosing itself in the Holy bond which is represented by the Torah. It us customary to have four poles holding the Chuppah canopy to represent that the newly-wed jewish couple should not be swayed by the evil inclinations that try to devour a person from all four directions. The Chupah also symbolizes the devotion that one has to have in a Jewish marriage no matter what obstacles come their way. Just like G-d lifted up the mountain of Sinai over the Jewish people and forced them to accept the Torah, so too the Jewish Bride and Groom must understand the importance of their marriage and unification.
These concept will be discussed, with G-d's help, in more detail.