I made the centerpieces myself, an apartment was prepared, plans finalized, my dress hung ready with matching satin shoes, like the ones I saw in my mother’s wedding album. I remember sitting in her closet while inspecting the forgotten images; images that appeared stained with time and tears, outdated and lost; images that were part of who I would become even before I existed. these reflections somehow thrust me into my future. With each page I turned, a new life emerged. The first few photos revealed my mother unaccompanied, preparing herself, getting ready for her groom. Her veil hung flawlessly in one photo, concealing her flawless beauty. I admired the bride I saw frozen in those photos. a vision of innocent simplicity, thin and tucked in neatly by my father’s side, the two became one at the end, setting into motion a whole new world. I wanted to walk in those shoes, white and pearly standing on the stone steps of a modest church.
I somehow knew there was something of importance in that blending and knitting together of two souls; the evolution from self-government to reliance, trust, faith. Is that what faith is nothing more than going from me to us!
When I finally got to wear my dress, my husband and I stood on display, young and ignorant of the weightier matters of marriage, agreeing blissfully to all the fine print. The heat of that July day crept up our backs, and around our necks. The small Baptist sanctuary was standing room only. The carpets were red, the songs long, it felt like a chicken coop in august, heat choked the joy out of my groom. It was uncomfortable and awkward with our heavy formalities. We stood there silently praying for the end. When the pastor pronounced “man and wife”, my husband used all the weight of his frustration to smash the glass that sat silently beneath his right foot. A huge smile appeared on his face with uncertain cause. i wondered, is it the end or the beginning he greeted?
The breaking of the chuppah glass is a tradition embraced at Jewish weddings symbolic of the temple in Jerusalem. With one step he ended the life we knew without each other, and ushered in life defined only with each other. He smashed it to declare- it was finished, but also to it was just beginning.
By this time life had taken a significant turn for me. I had been raised in a First Baptist church, said the sinners prayer at ten years old and by 20 had embraced Messianic Judaism and was walking according to all the feasible practices, however I held onto the images in that photo album, Jesus, and the hope that someday Jew and Gentile would truly be one in Messiah.
It was a smooth transition from hymnals to shofars, Pastors to Rabbi’s, Sunday to Saturday and never again would I read the New Testamant without the light of Torah.
The breaking of the glass resonated with me, it was the end of independence, the start of something new. I wasn’t broken, but my distinctiveness apart from my groom, as I knew it was over. Like Jerusalem, sometimes something must be broken in order to be restored to its true form. For me my true form was Hal and I together. I was standing there with all my expectations, waiting to be united with my groom. Jerusalem waits to be united with hers.
The glass for me symbolized a shattering of my own selfish existence. When we say our vows, we discard our individuality. No longer alone in the world to do as we please. We join, merge, fuse into a new creation, which closer resembles God’s image. We break the glass to remind us of the end of our individual life and the beginning of our new body.
The word of God is the glass that sat silently beneath the foot of mankind waiting to be crushed, but not eliminated; crushed to release an aroma contained within a stone vessel. Just as the chuppah glass is a loud indication of a change of status. The word of God took on flesh. Crushing his self-existence, the autonomy of the Word and joining with a human anatomy, becoming The Messiah, God’s Son, and dwelt among us. When Christ took on a human frame, it ended the solitude of the law. It didn’t end the law. No longer was the word standing in isolation, its distinctiveness and independence gone, the veil removed, the union finalized. In order to be fully understood and to come to its fullest purpose it had to be united with the child.
Christ and the law are one. The only thing that was totally removed and made invalid was mortal flesh at the cross. The veil of Torah has been removed at the blending of the word and flesh. The glass broken the covenant finalized. Through Christ we can now look on torah and understand truth because the veil has been cast off by Christ.
When my veil was donned I was one, single, unaccompanied, but once my veil was removed I was changed. We walked down the aisle and joined our guests for a feast and rejoicing, one that has yet to be matched in respects to celebration. God in the spirit of prophecy gave us weddings and marriage covenants as an album for our future, photos and visions of what we, as mankind, could look back at and hope to one day participate in.
“When one turns to the Lord the veil is removed, now the Lord is the spirit and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we with unveiled face, behold the glory of the Lord are being transformed into the same image from one degree of the glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the spirit.” 2 Corinthians 2:3