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How To Celebrate a Traditional Jewish Wedding

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5 of 10

Step 5: Circling the Groom
Jewish Bride Circling the Groom under the Chuppah

Jewish Bride Circling the Groom under the Chuppah

Lisa Katz
There is a tradition followed by some whereby the bride walks around the groom under the Chuppah before the rabbi begins the wedding ceremony. This tradition has ties to Jeremiah 31:21, where the prophet says that a woman encompasses and protects a man.

Some brides will circle three times. This tradition comes from Hosea 2:21-22 where God says to the Jewish people: "I betroth you to myself forever; I betroth you to myself in righteousness and in justice, in love and in mercy; I betroth you to myself in faithfulness..."

Other brides circle seven times. As Joshua circled the wall of Jericho seven times, and then the walls fell down. So, too, after the bride walks around the groom seven times, the walls between them will fall and their souls will be united.

While the bride circles, the groom prays. It is believed that as the groom stands under the chuppah on his wedding day, he is especially close to God. Often the groom will pray for friends of his who are not yet married or for someone who is sick. Some people give the groom notes and ask the groom to say a special prayer.

After the circling has been completed, the service begins with two blessings over wine. Both the bride and groom drink from the glass of wine.
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