Breaking the Glass at an Inter-faith Wedding

I had the honor of officiating for a self-described ‘seasoned’ couple this past weekend, here at my home. The couple had each journeyed far in their lives and felt so blessed to have found each other at this point in time. Both had adult children and it was meaningful to include them in our ceremony with words honoring them and asking them for their support.

It was also an inter-faith ceremony and although the groom was from a Jewish background, he had not ever had the opportunity to ‘break the glass.’ It was hard to resist this wonderful ritual which people of all faiths have come to know and admire! What a fun custom it truly is.  It is not really clear where this custom came from… here are a few of the explanations I am familiar with:

Some say it that it commemorates the destruction of the Temple during the siege of Jerusalem, and even in times of great joy, Jews reserve a moment to mourn this sad event in their history. For everyone, without our history, our lives are incomplete.

I recently heard an interesting interpretation – that the sound travels through time and space to share their joy with all who have loved them, both those who are separated by distance and those separated by time.

Now, another completely different explanation comes from more superstitious point of view: that the loud noise of the glass breaking frightens away evil spirits that threaten to steal the souls of the joyous couple… I’m not so sure about that one.

And then there are some who joke that it is the last time the groom gets to put his foot down!

I prefer the more popular idea that it symbolizes the fragility of life and love, and the transforming and irrevocable experience of marriage. And that it is a sign of good fortune, and a hope that the couple’s love remains as true and as pure as it is at that very moment.

And of course we balanced the Jewish tradition with something from the Christian tradition, in this case a spiritual reading. It is my strong belief that when creating inter-faith marriage there be a complete equality and balance between the two faiths. What a beautiful experience, and even the rain held off! Congratulations Rich & Mary!

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