Ancient Jewish Customs Cont. Essay, Research Paper
Kinvan is when the bride is given something of nominal value from the groom. In ancient times, coins were given. But recentely rings have replaced those coins. Rings have replaced those coins because their known as the gift of choice. However, in Jewish weddings, the ring has to belong to the groom, and be made of only solid metal without any gems of any kind on them. The rabbis had thought that if the rings wasnt at a high value then that may cause the bride to actually reconsider to marry someone else. This ring symbolizes the endless love that should be built and kept throughout the marriage and its also seen as being a look to the past and a commitment to the future. (Source B)
In many Orthodox communities, a bridge gives a tallis (prayer shawl) to the groom which he wears only from the day he is married, despite being a Bar Mitzvah for years. According to some Jewish mystics, the tallis is associated with sexual temptation, which, for a man, is more of an issue after marriage than at the traditional age of becoming a Bar Mitzvah. The biblical command to wear the fringes of the talis states:”You shall look at them and not be tempted to follow your heart and eyes.” Thus, for a married man, the talis now functions as a reminder to keep his mind off forbidden sexual situations.(Source C)
Another ancient custom that has lately been transformed is the ketubah(marriage contract.) The ketubah was a radical document in its day because it provided women with legal status and rights in marriage. This document recording, in Aramaic, showed the financial obligations which the husband undertakes toward his wife in respect of their marriage. It was instituted for the purpose of protecting the woman so that the husband would not find it easy to divorce her. Before the ceremony, the groom, in the presence of witnesses, undertakes an act of “kinyan”(the obligations of the Ketubah) This is done by taking a handkercheif or some other object belonging to the Rabbi, lifting it and returning it. He then is led by two male relatives facing Jerusalem.(Source C)
The chuppah(canopy) is what the bride and groom stand under during the wedding ceremony. This chuppah symbolizes a chamber. The bride is leaving her father’s house and is entering her husband’s home as a married woman.(Source C)
By custom all of the immediate relatives are part of the wedding party in Judaism. The bride and groom are escorted down the aisle by their parents. Siblings can act as attendents and grandparents may have a place in the process but are not always involved in this. Under the Huppah is where the bride stands to the right of her groom. Under Orthodox custom, before taking her place at her grooms right side, the bride may circle the groom seven times, which represent the seven wedding blessings in Jewish weddings. After the introduction by the rabbi, the groom recited his wedding vow and gives the ring to the bride. The ring is then placed on the brides right index finger because it is the finger of intelligence( the finger that points when reading words from the Torah). Next, the Ketubah is read aloud. This is followed by a reading of the seven wedding blessings by various guests. During this reading, the bride and groom sip their wine. When the reading is done, the groom breaks a glass with his foot which represents various things, one of which being the destruction of the Temple. The shattered glass also reminds us of how fragile life is.(Source D)
Although wedding customs may be cherished simple because of the history and tradition they represent, what keeps them alive is their revelance in a changing world. Ancient wedding customs combined with a modern spirit provide couples with both a link to the past and a hand in shaping the future they will be sharing.