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Religious Studies

Judaism: marriage and divorce

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Family and the home are central to Jewish culture and religion.

Marriage

Marriage (kiddushin) is very important in Judaism because family and the home are thought to be great blessings.

A man without a woman is doomed to an existence without joy, without blessing, without experiencing life’s true goodness, without Torah, without protection and without peace.

Talmud

The importance of marriage is emphasised in the Torah [Torah: Law; teaching. The word Torah can be used in a narrow sense to mean the first five books of the Hebrew Bible (The Five Books of Moses) and also in a wider sense to include the whole of the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud. ]:

A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

Genesis 2:24

According to the Midrash (a collection of various Rabbinic commentaries) this is because:

God created the first human being half male, half female. He then separated the two parts to form a man and a woman.

The ceremony

The Jewish wedding ceremony is very short. The man makes a vow to the woman in which he says:

Behold, you are consecrated to me by means of this ring, according to the rituals of Moses and Israel.

Jewish wedding ceremony

Jewish wedding ceremony

A Jewish marriage takes place under a canopy (called a chupah), which represents the home that the new couple will share.

As part of the marriage the groom signs a contract (called a Ketubah) that contains his promises to his wife.

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