The Ancient Hebrew Marriage Rite (Part II: The Wedding Chamber)

We left off (in Part I) with the Bride and Bridegroom sharing the cup of wine (communion) and the Bridegroom showering the Bride with many gifts. This was the re-affirmation of their marriage covenant.

In Hebrew, wine is a symbol of joy. Joy is neither brought on by material or financial gain. It has no attachment to the outpourings of this world. Joy is an eternal spring that flows from within, from our soul relation with Ha Mashiach, our savior. He is the source of our joy. Ha Mashiach is our cover, and his love is everlasting.

The Hebrew word for a Bride is Kallah, meaning complete. Instantly, I hear the world protest—I don’t need no man to complete me! I don’t need a-n-y-b-o-d-y! (. . . Hold the roll.)

Complete does NOT mean you are not whole. In the Ancient Hebrew Marriage Rite, a Bride must be whole. We are made whole in Ha Mashiach. In him, there is no void. Complete means a woman’s soul has been complemented by YAH’s match, therefore his purpose, through the Bride and the Bridegroom, can be fulfilled.

(To renew our minds in the area of being whole and complete, it is encouraging to read and study the (hidden) story of Adam and Eve (Khawah) found in the Apocrypha. Precept upon precept, it is in agreement with the story of Adam and Eve in the garden, found in the book of Bereshit (Genesis). It helps to bring about a better understanding of our history, our fall, and the covering that is needed, just as Ha Mashiach is a covering for those of us who abide in him. It is a very beautiful story and sacred text.)

You cannot pour new wine into an old wine skin. The wine will burst the skins and the wine is lost and the skin as well; but one puts new wine into fresh wine skins.

Matthew 2-21-22

7. ZAYIN: Cut, To Cut Off, A Weapon

The Bride now turns aside from all thoughts of another, from all the former things, and it is symbolized by the mikvah, a ritual immersion. She separates herself from her past and prepares to start a new life with her Beloved (just as baptism in Ha Mashiach is a weapon of separation . . . putting off the old things, and behold, all will become new). In this, the Bridegroom is pleased. This separation is so important. She is now dead to her former trespasses. She is like a brand new vessel, a new wine skin, awaiting her new wine.

Get to your prayer closet! This is the reason I have taught you to pray in SECRET: because there you are beset by fewer false motives and less temptations.

Come Away My Beloved, Francis J. Roberts

8. CHET: A Chamber, Separate, Private

With the union now sealed and the Bride immersed, the Bridegroom makes a pledge to return for her. He then goes back to his father’s house to prepare a place for his new Bride. (Re-affirming John 14:1-3.) The Bride has no clue when her Bridegroom will return for her. She begins to separate herself from the world around her and prepare for his return.

During this period (and throughout the marriage) each spouse has an obligation to develop themselves to the best of their ability. Trust is probably the most important ingredient in building their relationship. The Bride must trust her Bridegroom will indeed return for her; and, the Bridegroom must trust the Bride will not grow weary or fall away before he arrives.

9. TET: To Surround, Snake, To Twist

While the waiting begins, this is more importantly the time of readiness. The Bride is surrounded by her family and friends, but he will be leaving them soon. It is an emotional time as the Bride anxiously awaits her Bridegroom’s return.

It is also a time when doubt can creep in, making way for the lies of Ha Shatan, the serpent. The enemy begins to speak, but she must be careful not to listen to the lies. She may even start questioning herself—am I worthy? Look at all my flaws. Will he still want me when he sees my spots and wrinkles? She must believe the words of her Bridegroom and resist the lies of Ha Shatan and his fallen angels. She must delight in YAH for she is clothed in the robe of righteousness of her savior.

She must remember that the covenant is sealed. She must be strong. The Bridegroom may be a long time in coming. Only the Bridegroom’s father knows the exact time of his son’s return. When the father sees that all preparations for the wedding chamber (chadar) have been completed by the Bridegroom, then he will allow the son to transport his Bride to his home. The Parable of the Ten Maidens (Matthew 25:1-5) is a simple and straightforward lesson on readiness.

10. YOD: A Deed, To Make, Hand

This is an exciting part of the marriage rite—The Bridegroom’s return! The Fall Festivals are an enactment of all that we wait for—Ha Mashiach’s return!

When the Bridegroom comes to get his Bride, it is like a kidnapping (but willing, of course). First a loud SHOUT (!) and a blast of the shofar (just like for Yom Teruah, Feast of Trumpets which sets off the high holy days). The Bridegroom and his friends suddenly sneak-up on the Bride in the middle of the night and snatch her away! The Bride must be ready to run with her Bridegroom. There is no time for procrastination . . . and no room for hesitation. She must be ready!

The Deed is the Ketubah, the Betrothal Covenant. The Bridegroom acts on his right to claim his Bride!

11. KAF: To Cover, To Allow, Open Hand, Arm

With a strong arm and a open hand, the Bridegroom takes his bride away to the place he has prepared for her. At this time, the marriage is consummated. A huppah (chuppot), a canopy or covering made of fine silk or wool is raised over the couple and its four corners are fastened to a pole or a tree. It was customary for the tree to be one that was planted at the Bridegroom’s birth. (Many times a prayer shawl, tallit, is used as the huppah).

The Wedding Blessings (Birkot Nisuin) also known as Sheva Brachot (The Seven Blessings) are said over the couple and the second cup of wine is drunk. This sets the second seal to the marriage covenant. (A link to the wedding blessings is provided at the end of this article.)

During the Kidushin (Sanctification). The man will cover the woman with himself, and the wedding couple will now spend seven days together in the wedding room under the huppah in sexual intimacy. This is referred to as the “home-taking” (Nisuin). The couple will know each other like never before. They shall know each other fully, even as they are fully known. The new couple will now become one flesh (echad).

For as a young man marries a virgin, so shall thy sons marry you: and as the Bridegroom rejoiceth over the Bride, so shall your Elohim rejoice over you.

Isaiah 6:2-5

In the Yihud (the Knowing), the Bride’s family will be given the bed sheets stained with her blood so it could never be said that she was not pure before the wedding day. These bed sheets are like an insurance policy.

12. LAMED: Prod, Toward, Staff

Feast Time! After the seven days under the huppah, the wedding couple will come out of the wedding chamber and join their guests, known as B’nai Huppah! (Children of the Bridal Chamber!) They will share a festive meal called Sudat Mitzyah. There will be music and dancing, singing and celebration. The wife will be crowned his queen, and her husband will be crowned her King. Just as Israel and all who are grafted in will rule and reign with our Beloved, Ha Mashiach, our King! What a glorious time it will be!

The marriage feast reminds us that Ha Mashiach is coming for his Bride before the day of Judgement (Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement, is our expression of preparedness . . . it’s like a practice-test). Will you be ready?

For as a young man marries a virgin, so shall thy sons marry you: and as the Bridegroom rejoices over the Bride, so shall your Elohim rejoice over you.

Isaiah 6:2-5

The Wedding Couple now embarks upon the Five Stages of Abounding Love! (Five is the number of YAH’s grace.)

Stage One: The passionate beginning, described as falling in love.

Stage Two: Getting serious and becoming a couple.

Stage Three: Disillusionment. A time of facing your reality.

Stage Four: Creating real and lasting love.

Stage Five: Mutually fulfilling your purpose as a couple and making a positive difference in the world.

I hope this feature has been beneficial to you. I have had this study in my care for many, many years. It is an honor to be able to share it with you here and repeat it in my own words. Where it originated from and the original author is unknown. I have always kept it with me because I thought it was so beautiful, for marriage.

Thank you for reading! May you Seek YAH, Follow Ha Mashiach, and Operate, always, in spirit and in truth. Shalom!

(Cover Photo by Junior Karrick DJIKOUNOU)

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