Weddings in the Orthodox Jewish tradition are replete with symbolism. Jewish Orthodox weddings begin with a reception in which the mother of the bride may break a plate to symbolize the marriage commitment — a broken marriage being as final as a broken plate.
The wedding ceremony itself takes place under a canopy called a chuppah. This is to represent the tent of Abraham and Sarah, Judaism‘s first couple, and is often placed outdoors as a reminder of God’s blessing to Abraham of children as numerous as the stars. During the ceremony, the wedding ring is placed on the right index finger, as this finger is used as the pointer when reading the Torah (it is later moved to the left ring finger). Next, the groom breaks a glass with his right foot as a reminder that the Messiah is not yet come and that Jews constantly yearn for the restoring of the temple in Jerusalem.
Finally, the bride and groom are shown to a private room in which they are alone for five to ten minutes, symbolizing their unity.
About the Author: Rabbi Leib Tropper is a New York City-based author and educator.