The Deep Meaning behind An Orthodox Jewish Wedding
There are many cultures around the world where getting married is a vastly different experience than what the typical American has come to expect. Different cultures focus on tradition and various other important aspects. Some of these may be rooted in religion while others are rooted in superstition. At times it might be that the activities taking place at certain weddings are a combination of cultural and superstitious aspects.
Orthodox Jewish weddings are certainly not your common wedding experience. There are several different things to expect with orthodox Jewish wedding ceremonies. First, these weddings are centered around adhering to the Torah in every aspect. As a result the traditions taken part in will be different from what could be expected at other non-orthodox Jewish weddings.
Second, orthodox Jewish weddings aren’t as liberal as what you might find with the other forms of Jewish weddings such as conservative Jewish weddings or reformed Jewish weddings. There’s a deep meaning behind these types of weddings, but there’s more than one meaning.
Some of these meaning might carry more weight than others, but all of them are very important and are followed to very strictly. We’ll start with one of the most important meanings.
Not meeting the bride (Kallah) from a week up to the wedding
The groom, who is called the Chattan, isn’t allowed to meet the bride right up to a week before the wedding, but the reason for this is centered around creating feelings of new and fresh love on the actual wedding day. Depending on just how orthodox the couple is they may not be able to meet each other at all throughout the entire time they’re engaged. This is significant because engagements tend to last for a period of 6 months, but sometimes can last for almost a year.
Showing a certain level of seriousness and dedication on both sides (Kabbalat Panim)
With Orthodox Jewish weddings they begin with what’s called a Kabbalat Panim reception. Different receptions are held for the women and the men. At these receptions the groom will meet with his guests and properly greet them. The guests will make toasts to him and sing. The bride (Kallah) will sit on what looks like a throne while meeting with her guests. Certain refreshments will be offered at these receptions as well.
The moms of both the Kallah as well as the Chattan will shatter a plate during this time. One of the main reasons for this tradition is for each side to show how important the commitment is. Think about it. You can completely put back together a broken plate right? So the same would apply to a relationship that gets broken.
This Jewish wedding tradition is also to show the idea that the kallah is expected to be modest and her modesty will bring blessing into her new home. Read more