BREAK­ING A GLASS

The Jewish Chronicle - - Judaism - Cus­tom and prac­tice with Rabbi Ju­lian Sin­clair

THE most fa­mous cus­tom in mem­ory of the de­struc­tion of the Tem­ple is the bride­groom smash­ing a glass at the end of the wed­ding cer­e­mony. Some East­ern com­mu­ni­ties broke a piece of pot­tery. There was a cus­tom in Rus­sia of throw­ing the glass against a wall in­stead. To­day there are web­sites of­fer­ing to sus­pend the shards of your glass in a taste­ful leucite sculp­ture.

Other rea­sons are given for the cus­tom, whose source is in Talmud Ber­a­chot, 31a, where we read that Mar, the son of Rav­ina, smashed a glass goblet worth 400 zuz at his son’s wed­ding party be­cause he thought that the re­joic­ing was get­ting out of hand.

The Talmud ex­plains that in our bro­ken world it is not right to sur­ren­der ut­terly to full-blown laugh­ter and re­joic­ing: one should some­where re­mind one­self that there is suf­fer­ing and bro­ken­ness in the world even in the midst of our cel­e­bra­tion. This en­com­passes, but also goes be­yond, our sad­ness about the Tem­ple.

An­other beau­ti­ful rea­son for the cus­tom, cited by Aryeh Ka­plan, is that just as a glass can be glued to­gether and re­paired, so too, no mat­ter how bro­ken the bride and groom are when they meet each other, they can help re­store each other to whole­ness.

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