There are two parts to a Hebrew wedding ceremony. First, there is the betrothal – erusin (אירוסין). Second is the marriage itself – nesuin (נישואין). Originally, these two ceremonies were held as much as a year apart, but later the two ceremonies merged.
After the preliminaries of the erusin, the groom and bride are led to the wedding canopy for the official marriage ceremony. The marriage canopy is known as the chupah (חוּפָּה) in Hebrew. Usually, the chupah is made up of a piece of cloth that is held up by four poles. When the bride and groom stand under the cloth chupah, it is equivalent to a groom placing a garment over his bride. The chupah is also like a house, which is open on all four sides. This reflects Abraham’s house that had entrances on all four sides as well as Abraham’s incredible gift of hospitality.
Chupah is a biblical term: “Let the bridegroom go forth from his chamber and the bride from her chupah” (Joel 2:16). It is understood throughout the Jewish community that chupah is the act through which a couple clearly demonstrate that they are husband and wife, and that this is the act that binds them together.
Essentially, the second part of the wedding ceremony mainly consists of the Seven Blessings (Sheva Brachot, שבע ברכות). The Seven Blessings are recited over the part of the wedding ceremony where the bride and groom actually become permitted (united, bound) to each other through their marriage contract – ketubah (כְּתוּבָּה). The traditional ketubah was written in ancient Aramaic. It outlines the rights and responsibilities of a husband to his wife. It was meant to protect the woman and serve as a deterrent for divorce. The ketubah is the replacement for the money paid by the groom to the bride for marriage.
Typically, two glasses of wine are included in a Hebrew wedding ceremony. The first cup is drunk over the prenuptial blessing during the betrothal. The second cup is for the Seven Blessings during the actual marriage ceremony.
The Seven Blessings (Sheva Brachot, שבע ברכות) are:
1. Blessed are You, LORD, our GOD, Sovereign of the Universe, Creator of the vine-fruit.
2. Blessed are You, LORD, our God, Sovereign of the Universe, who created everything for His glory.
3. Blessed are You, LORD, our God, Sovereign of the Universe Creator of man.
4. Blessed are You, LORD, our God, Sovereign of the Universe, who created man in Your image, fashioning perpetuated life. Blessed are You, LORD, Creator of man.
5. The barrenness will surely exult and be glad in gathering her children to herself joyfully (in haste). Blessed are You, LORD, Gladdener of Zion by the way of her children.
6. Loving companions will surely gladden, as You gladdened your creations in the Garden of Eden in the east. Blessed are You, LORD, Gladdener of groom and bride.
7. Blessed are You, LORD, our God, Sovereign of the Universe, who created joy and gladness, groom and bride, mirth, song, delight and rejoicing, love and harmony, and peace and companionship. Quickly, LORD our God, there should be heard in the cities of Judah and in the courtyards of Jerusalem the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the groom and the voice of the bride, the jubilant voices of grooms from the bridal canopy, and of young people from the feast of their singing. Blessed are You, LORD, Gladdener of the groom with his bride.
“As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So shall your God rejoice over you” (Isaiah 62:5).
Give em heaven!!!
Written February 15, 2022 – Sapphire Throne Ministries – Robin Main. Copyrighted – If you are going to copy this, please copy it right by giving attributions to this source. Blessings!
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I’ve also learned that often a young girl would sew a prayer garment she would one day give to her husband. It was placed on top of the chuppah and they married under it. Then it was taken down and placed on him. From then on he would place it over his head when he prayed and so would remember his wife as the priest of the home.