I have a story that I need to bring up after my husband broke one of our glasses today.
He has the worst track record when it comes to glassware. It’s like he gets nervous about handling things that can break. After we first got married we bought a heap of beautiful wine glasses from Freedom. Gradually as time went by, the quantity of glasses in our home decreased, until we were left with one lonely little wine glass (and a few less drinking glasses, and plates).
During one of our visits to IKEA in Brisbane, my husband decides that we should replace all our broken wine glasses so he leaves me in the lighting zone and heads off to the glass area. Soon I hear a loud CRASH echoing over the crowd of shoppers. Oh.My.Goodness…..I immediately know what has happened and have quite a vivid picture in my head. When I turn the corner I see my husband standing in the middle of an assemblage of broken glass with a sweet IKEA lady trying to clean up the mess. He starts to tell me that he was looking at a glass, tried to pick it up and knocked the one next to it over, and this movement of the neighbouring glass knocked over a whole community of other glasses. I just silently shook my head in disbelief. However, we did end up leaving the store with some nice glasses which we still have to this day. It was ‘just’ a ceramic one he broke today.
The only time I have been stoked that my husband smashed a wine glass was when he had just become my husband – on our wedding day. He has Jewish ancestry and we wanted to honor that in our wedding, we also loved the beautiful symbolism and emotion that Jewish weddings evoke. Once we both had said “I do” and shared a glass of wine (communion), our Pastor wrapped up the empty glass in some material and placed it onto the ground for Kirk to smash with his foot. “Mazel Tov!”
So why deliberately smash a glass at your wedding? There are so many different interpretations as to why this is done at a Jewish wedding.
- the marriage will last as long as the glass is broken– forever.
- the husband and wife drank from a glass that no other will ever drink from (cause it is broken), in other words the marriage is just for the husband and wife….no one else can drink from that cup (if you know what I mean?).
- our previous ‘single’ lives are in the past and we are starting a new life together as a married couple. The old/past is done with.
- the most widespread meaning attached to the glass-smashing ritual is that it symbolises the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70AD. As the Temple functioned as the centre of worship in Judaism, its destruction has been devastating to the Jewish people. By remembering this national sadness during the joyous festivities of a wedding, Jews “set Jerusalem above [their] highest joy” (Psalm 137).
- Jewish men may also joke at the wedding that this is the last time the groom gets to ‘put his foot down’!
What was something special that you did or would like to do at your wedding?