Blessings and Drinking the Wine

In Judaism, Jewish law and tradition requires the recitation of a blessing before a mitzvah is performed. The blessing on a mitzvah usually mentions the specific commandment and blesses God, “who sanctifies us with commandments.”

The wedding ceremony commences with a few words of introduction from the wedding officiate and then a blessing on a glass of wine or grape juice. The Talmud writes, based on a verse in Psalms, that when we bless God it should bring joy to us and, as it were, to God also. But how, the Talmud asks, could the act of blessing God give both joy to God and physical joy to us? The Talmud answers that we must bless God over wine so that the blessing “gives joy” to God, and the wine will give joy to us. In light of this, many blessings in Judaism are made over a cup of wine.

If it is a traditional ceremony, a second blessing will be recited after the rabbi blesses the wine. This blessing is a blessing on the actual commandment of marrying. It is a paragraph long and closes with the words, “Blessed are you God who sanctifies Israel through the chuppah and kiddushin, (the wedding canopy and the wedding ceremony).”

Following the blessings, the cup of wine is given to the bride and groom to drink. Some couples like to involve parents or close relatives, having them bring the wine cup to the lips of the bride and groom. This is especially convenient for the bride if she is wearing a veil because it can take more than two hands to lift a bridal veil and a cup of wine, especially if the bride is also holding flowers.

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