Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Rabbi Yosef Decries Glass Breaking and Shouts of Mazal Tov at Weddings

Israel's former Chief Sephardic Rabbi has come out against one of the most joyful moments in the lives of newly married couples and everyone who joins them in celebration of their wedding -- the traditional breaking of the glass by the chatan (bridegroom) under the chuppah at the end of the wedding ceremony.  

Why is Rabbi Ovadia Yosef so upset with this aspect of the wedding ceremony?  Writing in Arutz Sheva (IsraelNationalNews.com,) David Lev reports:
Rabbi Yosef believes that the custom leads in many cases to "foolishness and lightheadedness," and does not elicit the proper reaction – and, if not for the weight of Jewish tradition, should be eliminated altogether.
The article continues:
Many less knowledgeable Jews, says Rabbi Yosef, are unaware of the roots of the custom. The breaking of the glass was originally instituted as a sign of mourning for the destroyed Holy Temple, and was meant to show that even at the times of our greatest joy, Jews did not forsake their homeland and heritage. But an article in Friday's edition of the Shas-affiliated Yom l'Yom newspaper analyzes Rabbi Yosef's viewpoint on the matter, and quotes him at length as being highly critical of the custom. 

Rabbi Yosef criticizes both guests, who cry out their good wishes for the happy couple right after the glass is broken – a most inappropriate reaction, given the reason for the custom – as well as the grooms, who often turn the glass-breaking ceremony into a contest of physical strength. "Many unknowledgeable people fill their mouths with laughter during the breaking of the glass, shouting 'mazal tov' and turning a beautiful custom meant to express our sorrow into an opportunity for lightheadedness."  
Most of the weddings that we've attended included an explanation of the glass breaking and someone singing Im Eshkachech Yerushalayim just before the breaking, with the guests joining in.  And none of these weddings were Sephardic.  Perhaps the custom that Rabbi Yosef  calls for has already been largely adopted, especially by Jews with a solid Jewish education and/or a connection with Israel.  

Here are a few glass breakings that we found on YouTube.   The first one does show a display of physical strength.  We suspect that Rabbi Yosef would approve of the second and third ones because they seem to meet all of his requirements.  Mazal Tov!!!
Clipart from Webweaver

No comments:

Post a Comment