Jewish Wedding Script
Wedding of Rebecca and David
I want to first welcome everyone to this amazing moment.
After waiting and anticipation, it is my honour to solemnise their love, uniting them together in Holy Matrimony.
Marriage is the outward manifestation of love, something raw and verile.
It cuts to the core of our being, right to the essence of who we are as people.
Going back to the Hebrew Bible, we recall the story of Laban and Jacob, one of our Jewish Patriarchs. In exchange for his true love–Rachel–he was willing to submit himself to hard labour for 7 years. Not only did he “jump” at the chance, he seemingly felt that “time flew by”. Love is the great motivator of all things.
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth".
We are going to be using some Hebrew in today’s service and I will do my best to explain what is going on.
The first prayer gives gratitude to the Creator, who has allowed us to be present, in this moment, celebrating the love of this amazing couple.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יהוה, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁהֶחֱיָֽינוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמָן הַזֶּה
Life is a series of choices.
Some choices are made using our rational faculties, others with our emotion.
When the Creator chose Abram (later Abraham) to be Him Ambassador, He did so unconditionally.
Love is unconditional by its very nature, forcing us to emphasise compassion over vengeance.
You too will follow the same path, placing your destiny in each other’s hands.
Our Traditions speak not only in fluffy abstract terms but also in practicalities.
Married life is not always easy, nor should it be, for nothing good comes easy.
It requires sacrifice, hard work, and maybe even a little humour.
It makes us confront our inequities ,and forces us to become better people.
The Torah tells us how to view our wives, as if we are viewing the Divine Presence directly in our midst. As Rabbi Yeshaya Horowitz comments, and I paraphrase, we show our reverence for God by showing respect to our wives. This is nothing new, taken directly from Solomon’s Wisdom Literature. In other words, the world opens up when a husband causes his wife to smile.
Jewish weddings have two distinct stages; the engagement and the marriage service. Today they are combined, executed in one single service under the chuppah. This beautiful canopy represents their first home, supported by their community physically and spiritually. It is said that on the moment of kiddushin (wedding service) that the couple’s ancestors descend and partake in the joy.
Now we will now recite the erusin, culminating in the ring exchange and the promises made to each other.
ברוּךְ אתּה י-י א-להינו מלךְ העוֹלָם אשׁר קדשׁנוּ בּמצוֹתיו וצוָנוּ על העריות ואָסר לָנוּ את הארוּסוֹת והתּיר לָנוּ את הנשׂוּאוֹת לָנוּ על ידי חפּה וקדוּשׁין. בּרוּךְ אַתּה י-י מקדשׁ עמוֹ ישראל על ידי חפּה וקדוּשׁין.
Now I am going to ask the groom to say the following after me. When he is finished, please place the ring on your bride's finger.
הֲרֵי אַתְּ מְקֻדֶּֽשֶׁת לִי בְּטַבַּֽעַת זוֹ, כְּדַת מֹשֶׁה וְיִשְׂרָאֵל
By this ring you are consecrated to me as my wife, in accordance with Moses and the Laws of Israel.
Now I will turn to his bride, asking her to repeat the following after me. When you are done saying the words, please put the ring on your groom’s finger.
אני לדודי, ודודי לי
Which means, in English, I am my beloved and my beloved is mine.
Now it is time for the Sheva Brachot, or the seven benedictions.
It is important that everyone understands what is being said, so here are the cliff notes, so to speak.
Blessing the wine.
Understanding the Creator’s majesty.
That we are created in the Divine Image.
The realisation that not only were created by the divine, he also sustains us.
Petitioning the creator for children.
The hope that your home will be filled with peace, like the garden of eden in the here and now.
Seeing the world as filled with love, hope, and potential. May everyone hear their joy and celebrate this happiness. From the hills of Judea to the virile landscape of Canada.
ברוך אתה יי אלהינו מלך העולם, בורא פרי הגפן.
Give the couple the wine to drink.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁהַכֹּל בָּרָא לִכְבוֹדוֹ:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, יוֹצֵר הָאָדָם:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר יָצַר אֶת הָאָדָם בְּצַלְמוֹ, בְּצֶלֶם דְּמוּת תַּבְנִיתוֹ, וְהִתְקִין לוֹ מִמֶּנּוּ בִּנְיַן עֲדֵי עַד. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, יוֹצֵר הָאָדָם:
שׂוֹשׂ תָּשִׂישׂ וְתָגֵל הָעֲקָרָה, בְּקִבּוּץ בָּנֶיהָ לְתוֹכָהּ בְּשִׂמְחָה. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, מְשַׂמֵּחַ צִיּוֹן בְּבָנֶיהָ:
שַׂמֵּחַ תְּשַׂמַּח רֵעִים הָאֲהוּבִים, כְּשַׂמֵּחֲךָ יְצִירְךָ בְּגַן עֵדֶן מִקֶּדֶם. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, מְשַׂמֵּחַ חָתָן וְכַלָּה:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר בָּרָא שָׂשׂוֹן וְשִׂמְחָה חָתָן וְכַלָּה, גִּילָה רִנָּה דִּיצָה וְחֶדְוָה, אַהֲבָה וְאַחְוָה שָׁלוֹם וְרֵעוּת. מְהֵרָה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ יִשָּׁמַע בְּעָרֵי יְהוּדָה וּבְחוּצוֹת יְרוּשָׁלָיִם, קוֹל שָׂשׂוֹן וְקוֹל שִׂמְחָה, קוֹל חָתָן וְקוֹל כַּלָּה, קוֹל מִצְהֲלוֹת חֲתָנִים מֵחֻפָּתָם, וּנְעָרִים מִמִּשְׁתֵּה נְגִינָתָם. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, מְשַׂמֵּחַ חָתָן עִם הַכַּלָּה:
According to laws of Israel and the province of Ontario, I hereby pronounce you husband and wife you may kiss your bride!
Big kiss, then break the glass.
Exit to wedding signing.
Legal Wedding Ceremony
Now that we have completed the religious part of the marriage service, now we are going to perform the civil paperwork.
First I am going to ask a series of questions, then directing you (and your witnesses) to fill in the appropriate boxes.
Is there any legal impediment that would make you ineligible for marriage?
Do you agree to enter into marriage with______________________
Fantastic. As per my mandate as a registered officiant, I now pronounce you married under Canadian Law. Mazel Tov.
I will be honoured to present you both with your first proof of your union, your marriage certificate. If you are looking for a “long form marriage license”, please see me after and I can show you the website.
(Instruct everyone to sign on their designated, numbered line, eg. line 42).
That completes both the spiritual and legal aspects of the marriage ceremony. It has been my utmost pleasure to be of service to you both and your family.
May the Creator bless you beyond your expectations, may he bring people close and give you peace.