Marriage in Judaism Essay

Submitted By Samirasalah
Words: 4335
Pages: 18

In the words of judicious Ba’al Shem Tov, “From every human being there rises a light that reaches straight to heaven. And when two souls are destined to find each other, their two streams of light flow together and a single brighter light goes forth from their united being.” This is a momentous quote which implies to the prominence of marriage in Judaism, it also relates to a phrase in the Old Testament Genesis 2:24 “A man shall leave his father and his mother and shall become united and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh”. The concept of marriage in Judaism is an ideal state of personal system, a man without a wife and a woman without a husband is considered incomplete. Jews consider marriage a holy institution, from the name “kiddushi” meaning sanctification, the wedding ceremony dates back to the earliest days and is associated with the providing of the Torah at Mount Sinai. According to Jewish law physical contact is not allowed between a male and a female until they are married. This aids to ensure that one’s choice of partner will be based on intellect and emotion and not on physical desire alone. In Genesis God has stated: “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” The marriage ceremony itself contains symbolic significance to Judaism, conveying Jewish beliefs through symbols, actions and words. To be Jewish one has to be born of a Jewish marriage; therefore, Jewish marriages are substantial ensuring Judaism remains through generations due to procreation and the adherence of individuals marrying. As a result, marriage is viewed as the joining of a couple to form a complete entity, giving them strength and vitality to maintain a Jewish life and to grow physically, mentally and spiritually. In doing so, they gain a voice and new standing within the Jewish community. The ceremony is intricate of high morality as the ritual is embedded in historical and spiritual implication to the individual adherent, as well as the community. It allows them to express their faith and belief through their wedding ceremony, love seeks eternity and sanctity rootedness in a transcendent power.

Table 1: The number of Jewish marriages in Australia from 1992 to 2010.

Marriage is seen as a personal, contractual relationship and the fulfilment of the Mitzvah. All Jewish men and women are expected to marry as it is the first commandment located in Genesis. Marriage is a religious obligation as it structures the lives of the couple and assigns clear roles to each partner. In fact, one must be married in order to become a rabbi. Judaism's high view of marriage derives from its view of the home and family as the centre of religious life. Given true love and a man and woman who follow religious and ethical precepts, life holds the possibility of being as close to paradise as is possible in this world. But if they violate God's commands, they must repeat the experience of Adam and Eve in paradise lost. Judaism teaches that every bride and groom must go back to Adam and Eve, and re-enact that physical and spiritual drama of community as "one flesh". Jewish marriage is not designed for the ethical management of the sexual drive, nor is it a concession to human weakness. Marriage is seen as a blessing from God because it enables to overcome loneliness. According to the Torah, Jewish marriage is the decision to confront the challenge of the real world. Judaism teaches when a man marries, he enters not only marriage, but the world. In addition, Judaism views marriage as holy, as a sanctification of life. Furthermore, Judaism views marriage as purposeful. The purposes of marriage are both companionship and procreation. Conferring to Judaism, woman was created because "It is not good for a man to be alone." (Genesis 2:18) In addition, marriage enables fulfillment of the first commandment: "Be fruitful and multiply." (Genesis 1:28). The mystics explain that two primary considerations drive the