Friday, December 31, 2010

Why Smash a Glass? by Rabbi Moss

Question of the Week:
I understand the reason I will be breaking a glass under my foot at the end of the wedding ceremony is to commemorate the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem some 2000 years ago. This indeed was a significant event in Jewish history, but it doesn't seem to have any personal relevance to me. What does a destroyed building have to do with my wedding?

Answer:The destruction of the Temple has extreme personal relevance. It happened to you. The shattering of the glass commemorates not only the fall of Jerusalem, but also a cataclysmic shattering that happened to your very own temple, your soul.

Before you were born, you and your soulmate were one - a single soul. Then, as your time to enter this world approached, G-d shattered that single soul into two parts, one male and one female. These two half souls were then born into the world to try and find each other and reunite.

At the time, the split seemed tragic. What was once a peaceful unit had become fragmented and incomplete. Why break something just so it should be fixed? If you were meant to be together, why didn't G-d leave you together?

Only when standing under the Chuppah do you find the answer to this question. At the wedding, these two halves are becoming whole, reuniting never to part again. And you can look back at the painful experience of being separated, and actually celebrate it. For now you realise that the separation brought you closer. Only by being torn apart, living lives away from each other, were you able to develop as individuals, mature and grow, and then come together in a true relationship, a deeper oneness than you had before, because it is created by your choice. Had you never been separated, you would never appreciate what it means to be together, because it wasn't earned. At the wedding you realise that your soul was only split in order to reunite and become one on a higher and deeper level than before.

And so we break a glass under the Chuppah, and we immediately say Mazel Tov. Because now, in retrospect, even the splitting of the souls is reason to be joyous, for it gave your connection depth and real meaning.

So you see, your personal story and the story of Jerusalem's destruction are inextricably linked. The shattering that happened to Jerusalem happened to your soul; and the joy you are experiencing now will one day be experienced by Jerusalem too.

The Temple was not a mere building, it was the meeting place of heaven and earth, ideal and reality, G-d and creation. When the Temple was lost, with it went the open relationship between G-d and the world. Our souls were ripped away from our Soulmate.

The only antidote to fragmentation is unity. And the deepest unity is experienced at a wedding. Every wedding is a healing, a mending of one fragmented soul, a rebuilding of Jerusalem in miniature. Our sages teach us, "Whoever celebrates with a bride and groom it is as if he rebuilt one of the ruins of Jerusalem." When soulmates reunite in holy marriage, an energy of love and oneness is generated, elevating the world and bringing it one step closer to mending its broken relationship with G-d.

And one day soon, when the Temple in Jerusalem is rebuilt, our souls will reunite with G-d, our Soulmate, in a true relationship that we built ourselves. We will no longer mourn the destruction, but looking back we will finally understand its purpose, and we will celebrate. Then, even the shattering will deserve a Mazel Tov.

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