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Do Jewish people break glass when they get married?

Many people have witnessed Jewish weddings, either in person or in films and TV shows. One popular image associated with these weddings is the breaking of a glass at the end of the ceremony. This tradition has roots in Jewish history, and its symbolism encompasses both joy and sorrow.

The History and Significance of Breaking the Glass

The tradition of breaking the glass during a Jewish wedding can be connected to several historical events. Some suggest that it represents the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE. This event was a turning point in Jewish history, and it led to the diaspora, or the migration of Jews to other parts of the world. Breaking the glass may serve as a reminder that even in moments of great joy, Jews must remember their history of loss and hardship.

Others connect the tradition to the idea that the breaking glass is linked with the fragility of human relationships. Just as the glass shatters into pieces that cannot be put back together, marriage is not invincible and may end in divorce or separation. By acknowledging this fact during the wedding ceremony, the couple is demonstrating their commitment to work through any difficulties that may arise in their marriage.

Additionally, some connect the tradition to the idea of driving away evil spirits that could disrupt the newlywed couple’s happiness. The sound of the glass shattering serves as a warning to dark forces that they are not welcome in the marriage.

The Rituals and Actions of Breaking the Glass

During a Jewish wedding ceremony, the breaking of the glass often takes place at the end of the service. The groom is typically the one to break the glass, but some modern couples choose to break it together. The glass is usually wrapped in a cloth or placed inside a bag to prevent any harm to the couple or guests.

The groom then steps on the glass, smashing it into pieces. Usually, the guests respond with shouts of “Mazel tov!” which means “good luck” or “congratulations” in Hebrew. The couple then shares their first kiss as newlyweds, and the party begins.

Different Interpretations Across Jewish Traditions

While breaking the glass is a common tradition at Jewish weddings, it is not a requirement. Additionally, the significance of the act may vary across different Jewish communities and traditions.

For example, some Jews connect the act to the story of Samson, a Biblical figure who defeated his enemies by breaking a pillar and causing a roof to cave in. This act of strength is mirrored in the tradition of breaking the glass, which can symbolize the groom’s determination to protect his wife and family.

In some Sephardic Jewish communities, a plate is used instead of a glass. The plate is often blue and white, a nod to the country of origin, and it is also wrapped in a cloth or put in a bag. The groom then steps on the plate to break it, and the act is followed by a song called “El Mueli Rachamim,” which asks God to have mercy on the souls of those who have died.

The Significance of the Moment

Whether the tradition of breaking a glass represents sorrow, the fragility of human relationships, or the need to drive away evil forces, it is a meaningful and powerful moment that encapsulates the full range of emotions that come with marriage.

As the couple begins their journey together, they are reminded of the joys and sorrows that come with life. They know that while love can bring great happiness, it can also be tested with difficulty. And they know that even in moments of joy, they must not forget the suffering that has come before and the struggles yet to come.

For Jewish couples, breaking the glass is much more than a fun tradition or quirky addition to a wedding. It is a powerful symbol of the connection between past, present, and future. And for those who are familiar with its history and meaning, it is a moment that never fails to bring tears to the eyes and joy to the heart.


Do you have to break a glass at a Jewish wedding?

Yes, breaking a glass at a Jewish wedding is a tradition that dates back centuries and is still practiced today in most Jewish weddings. The breaking of glass is usually done at the end of the ceremony and is accompanied by the shouts of “Mazel Tov!” which means congratulations in Hebrew. The tradition is steeped in symbolism and holds important meaning for the couple getting married as well as the Jewish community as a whole.

The symbolism of breaking the glass centers on the idea of fragility and the need for care in a marriage. The glass, once broken, cannot be put back together again, just like a relationship once it is broken. It serves as a reminder to the couple to treat their relationship with care and work to keep their love strong. The breaking of the glass also signifies the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the ongoing mourning for its loss. This shows the couple’s commitment to the Jewish faith and serves as a reminder of the importance of Judaism in their lives.

Traditionally, the man would break the glass with his foot, signifying his strength and power, but today, many couples choose to break the glass together, symbolizing equality and teamwork in their relationship. It is also not uncommon for couples to break two glasses instead of one; the second glass represents a hope for the couple’s future happiness together.

While some more progressive or secular Jewish couples may choose not to include this tradition in their wedding ceremony, it remains an essential part of traditional Jewish weddings. The breaking of the glass represents both the fragility and strength of marriage, the importance of Judaism in the couple’s lives, and serves as a joyous symbol of celebration for the couple and their loved ones.

What does breaking glass symbolize in Judaism?

Breaking the glass is an ancient Jewish wedding tradition that has been around for centuries. It is a symbolic act that is usually carried out at the end of the wedding ceremony, just before the newlywed couple is officially announced.

The symbolism behind the breaking of the glass has its roots in Jewish history. It is supposed to recall the destruction of the temples, which were the holy centers of Jewish worship in ancient times. The breakage of the glass is meant to be a symbolic reminder of the tragedies that Jewish people have faced in the past, and a way of linking the joy of the wedding ceremony with the sadness of those events.

There are many interpretations of the breaking of the glass ritual. One common explanation is that it is meant to serve as a warning against the dangers of excessive joy. Just as the glass shatters when it is subjected to too much force, so too can joy turn into sadness if it is carried to an extreme. Breaking the glass is a way of acknowledging this fact and of reminding the couple that they should always strive to maintain balance in their relationship.

Another interpretation of the breaking of the glass ritual is that it is a way of linking the wedding celebration to the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Just as the broken glass can be repaired and made whole again, so too can the city of Jerusalem be rebuilt after its destruction. Breaking the glass is therefore a way of expressing the hope that one day the Jewish people will be able to return to their homeland and see their holy city restored to its former glory.

In some Jewish communities, the breaking of the glass is also said to symbolize the breaking of the bride’s hymen, although this interpretation is not widely agreed upon by scholars.

Whatever its specific interpretation, the breaking of the glass is a meaningful and highly symbolic act that serves to remind Jewish couples of the rich history and traditions that underpin their wedding ceremonies. It is a beautiful and meaningful way to mark the beginning of a new life together, while also honoring the shared cultural and religious heritage of the Jewish faith.

Is breaking the glass Jewish wedding before or after kiss?

In Jewish weddings, the breaking of the glass serves as an important symbolic gesture that often marks the end of the wedding ceremony. This tradition is deeply rooted in Jewish culture and is carried out with great reverence and solemnity. However, there is still much confusion regarding the timing of this ritual, specifically whether it is performed before or after the kiss.

According to traditional Jewish customs, the breaking of the glass is done at the end of the wedding ceremony, usually after the couple has exchanged vows and rings. The groom steps on and breaks the glass with his foot, accompanied by cheers of “Mazel Tov,” which means congratulations. In this scenario, the breaking of the glass precedes the kiss, which usually follows the breaking of the glass.

However, in reformed Jewish traditions, the order of events is reversed. After the groom and bride exchange vows and rings, they share a kiss, followed by the breaking of the glass. This deviation from the traditional order of events is still a matter of debate among religious scholars. Some argue that this disrupts the solemnity and sanctity of the ritual, while others contend that this change is in keeping with the progressive values of modern Judaism.

Regardless of the order of events, the breaking of the glass remains an important and meaningful tradition in Jewish weddings. It symbolizes the fragility of human relationships and reminds the couple to cherish and protect their marriage. The shards of broken glass are also said to represent the long history of the Jewish people, as well as the struggles and triumphs that they have faced throughout the centuries.

The timing of the breaking of the glass in Jewish weddings varies depending on the specific tradition and customs being followed. While some adhere to the traditional order of events, others opt for the reformed approach. In either case, the breaking of the glass remains an integral part of Jewish wedding ceremonies, symbolizing the couple’s commitment to one another and their shared values.