Image: Dave & Charlotte
Nothing says “Jewish wedding” more than the sound of the smashing of the glass, so it’s the natural joyous title for my Jewish wedding blog but why is breaking the glass such an important ritual of the Jewish wedding ceremony?
First and foremost it is the official signal to cheer, dance, shout “Mazal Tov!” and start partying! But there are various other explanations depending on whom you ask. Some of them are that it:
1. is a representation of the fragility of human relationships; and a reminder that marriage will change your life (hopefully for the good) forever.
2. is a superstition and the loud noise is supposed to drive away evil spirits.
3. is a break with the past: the marriage is to last as long as the glass remains broken, ie. forever.
4. symbolises the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem some 2000 years ago.
5. symbolises a hope that your happiness will be as plentiful as the shards of glass, or that your children will be as plentiful as the shards of glass.
And so it goes on. And as with many symbolic acts in Judaism, you can see that there are a host of reasons available to explain why we break the glass at a Jewish wedding. Some Jewish men may also joke that this is the last time the groom gets to ‘put his foot down’!
Image: Hatunot Blog / Alexey Kudrik
CHOOSE THE INTERPRETATION THAT IS MOST MEANINGFUL TO YOU
Whatever reason resonates with you best, feel free to ask your rabbi or officiant to mention, just before the breaking of the glass, an interpretation that is the most meaningful for you.
And on the subject of breaking the glass, there are all sorts of alternative variations that you can make eg. why not both break the glass together with one swift smash in unison? Be creative and choose the interpretation of the breaking the glass that means the most to you as a couple and it will make that element of your ceremony more momentous.
Image: Hatunot Blog / Dima Vazinovich
WEDDING SHARD MEZUZAH KEEPSAKE
Once the glass-smashing has been done and you are man and wife, I think it’s a beautiful idea to create a mezuzah keepsake out of the smashed glass from your wedding ceremony. There are quite a few crafts-y people on Etsy who will create one for you from your shards of glass such as the one below from Enid Traisman