Monday, June 4, 2012

The Custom of Breaking Glass Under the Chuppah

Why is there a custom of breaking glass under the chuppah at a Jewish Wedding?

The quick answer is that the breaking of glass commemorates the destruction of the Temple / Bet Hamikdash.  The tradition is for the groom to break glass by stomping on it with his foot, and this happens upon the completion of the seven blessings / sheva brachot that are recited under the chuppah.  The glass is typically some sort of whole glass object such as a glass cup, but it is also typical to use a light bulb since it is made of glass and can easily be broken when stepped on.  The glass object is wrapped in cloth or paper and placed on the ground near the groom.  The groom steps on the glass until it is broken and this concludes the chuppah ceremony.

It seems ironic to leave the chuppah, the place where two souls are united as one, with the sound of broken glass and the shattering of something that was once whole into lots of tiny sharp pieces.  But just like glass, marriage is fragile and can shatter.  The chuppah is a place to recognize G-d's presence both in our union as husband and wife and in the covenant between G-d and the Jewish people.  This spiritual connection provides strength for us, even in our most fragile moments and when things could shatter.

An interesting way to capture the moment is to save the broken pieces of glass and then have them "frozen" in a Lucite cube as a keepsake.  Here's a picture of a Rectangular Wedding Glass Lucite Cube by Treasured Collection:

Feel free to add comments or questions about this post.


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