Marriage in Jewish Tradition For general interest.
Seek the Truth with all your heart.
Many of today’s marriage ceremonies include aspects which originated in Jewish tradition.
Traditional Jewish marriage reflects the relationship between Jesus - The bridegroom, and those who love GOD and have made Jesus Lord of their life, called The Bride.
Genesis 24:57-67 The consent of the bride-to-be is an important consideration.
Rebekkah (Rivkah), for example, was asked if she consented to go back with
Eliezer to marry Isaac, the son of Abraham, and she went willingly.
Likewise, we cannot be forced into a relationship with the Son, Jesus (Yeshua).
In the same way that Rebecca was asked if she would go with Abraham’s servant,
the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) asks us if we are willing to respond and to
be joined in a covenant of love with Jesus (Yeshua).
Traditionally, in preparation for the betrothal ceremony, the bride (kallah)
and groom (chatan) are separately immersed in water in a ritual called the
mikvah, which is symbolic of spiritual cleansing.
Matthew 3: 13–17 we read that Yeshua (Jesus) was immersed (baptized)
by Yochanan (John the Baptist) in the waters of mikvah at the Jordan River.
As the Bride-to-be, we are also asked to be immersed.
Mark 16:16 “Whoever believes and is baptized (ritually immersed) will be saved.”
A groom rejoices by dancing with his friends after immersing himself in the mikvah (symbolic of spiritual cleansing). The water for this mikvah bath is outside and fed by spring, from which the natural water runs down a hill into the mikvah, just outside of Jerusalem.
Proverbs 18:22 “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favour from the LORD.”
After the immersion, the couple would enter the huppah (marriage canopy) –symbolic of a new household being planned, to establish a binding contract.
Here, the groom would give the bride money or a valuable object such as a ring, and a cup of wine was customarily shared to seal their covenant vows.
In this public ceremony under the huppah, the couple entered into the betrothal period, which typically lasted for about a year. Although they were considered married, they did not live together or engage in sexual relations.
To annul this contract, the couple would need a religious divorce (get), which had to be initiated by the husband.
Matthew 1:18–25 provides an excellent example of this.
During Yosef (Joseph) and Miriam’s (Mary) eyrusin, Yosef discovered that Miriam was pregnant, and he considered divorcing her, although he had not yet brought her home as his wife.
Matthew 1:19-20 “…he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.’”
During the eyrusin period, the groom was to prepare a place for his bride, while the bride focused on her personal preparations – wedding garments, lamps, etc.
Although the bride knew to expect her groom after about a year, she did not know the exact day or hour. He could come earlier, and it was the father of the groom who gave final approval for him to return to collect his bride. This is a shadow of, and relates to: Matthew 24:36 “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” This is speaking of the return of Jesus (the groom) to collect His bride - the church - the true GOD-loving Christians.
For that reason, the bride kept her oil lamps ready at all times, just in case the groom came in the night, sounding the shofar (ram’s horn) to lead the bridal procession to the home he had prepared for her.
In the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25: 1–13), Yeshua (Jesus) likened the Kingdom of Heaven to this special period of eyrusin, when the groom comes for his bride:
Matthew 25:6-7 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet
him!’ Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps.”
So too today, in the season of Yeshua’s end-time return, we should be careful to remain alert and prepared for His coming, since Yeshua was speaking to His disciples prophetically about the condition of the Church in the last days.
Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
In Jewish weddings today, there are two cups of wine during the wedding ceremony. After the rabbi recites the betrothal blessings accompanying the first, the couple drinks from the cup. Since wine is associated with Kiddish (Marriage,) the prayer of sanctification recited on Shabbat (Sabbath,) and since marriage is the sanctification of the bride and groom to each other, marriage is also called kiddushin.
A Jewish bride and groom stand under the chuppah.
Marriage – Nissuin.
John 14:3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
Likewise, the Messiah, as the Bridegroom, has gone to prepare a place for us.
The day of the return of the Messiah for His Bride is soon approaching.
The final step in the Jewish wedding tradition is called nissuin (to take), a word that comes from naso, which means to lift up.
At this time, the groom, with much noise, fanfare and romance, carried the bride home.
Once again, the bride and groom would enter the huppah, recite a blessing over the wine - a symbol of joy - and finalize their vows.
Now finally, they would consummate their marriage and live together as husband and wife, fully partaking of all the duties and privileges of the covenant of marriage.
It is traditional in some Jewish communities for the bride to circle the groom seven times and then stand to the groom's right side under the huppah. Since the number seven biblically symbolizes completion and perfection, this represents the wholeness and
completeness that they cannot attain separately.
2 Peter 3:10 “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. ----’ Although, we know approximately the time (the season) of His return from the signs of the times.
1 Thessalonians 4:16 ‘For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of GOD, and the dead in Christ will rise first.’
The Bride (The believers in Yeshua), should be living consecrated lives, keeping themselves pure and holy in preparation for the Nissuin and the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, when the Groom comes with the blast of the shofar (a ram’s horn) to bring His Bride home.
Traditional Jewish Marriages Today.
Joel 2:16 “Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber.”
Today, in traditional Judaism, the engagement (eyrusin), and the marriage (nissuin), are combined into one.
The bride and groom sign the marriage contract (ketubah) in the presence of the rabbi and two witnesses before the ceremony.
Unlike a Christian wedding, where it’s generally taboo for the groom to see the bride before the ceremony, in a Jewish wedding, the groom must see his bride before the ceremony.
Why? Remember the story of Laban, when he tricked Jacob into marrying his eldest daughter, even though he loved Rachel?
And since Jacob didn’t ensure the identity of his bride, he ended up marrying the woman – Leah - who he thought would be his sister-in-law.
Judges 14:10-12 Although in ancient times, the wedding feast (seudah) after the nissuin might have included seven full days of food, music, dancing and celebrations today the Jewish ceremony is usually followed by a wedding supper and reception with food, wine, music and dance.
However, Orthodox Jews do keep to the tradition of Sheva Brachot and celebrate after the wedding for seven nights, with friends and family hosting festive meals in honour of the bride and groom.
The Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
Revelation 21:1-2 “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from GOD, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.”
When Messiah returns for us, and everything happening in the world today indicates that this will be very soon; we will celebrate the marriage supper of the Lamb with Him and our joy (simcha), will be beyond measure.
But there will be those who won’t share in our simcha or celebrate with us, because they do not know Yeshua - Jesus.
Now is the time to reach out to the lost, while we are still in the eyrusin period, before the Bridegroom – Yeshua – Jesus - comes.
Revelation 22:12-21 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with Me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
I, Jesus, have sent My angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes, take the free gift of the water of life.
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: if anyone adds anything to them, GOD will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, GOD will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come Lord Jesus.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with GOD’s people. Amen.’