Breaking the Glass – Jewish Custom

Breaking the Glass

Breaking the Glass – MPArtworks Ketubah

Jewish Weddings Breaking the Glass: Breaking Through the Glass

Almost universally in all cultures, a broken glass signifies something. For some broken glass brings seven years of good luck, for others broken glass is believed to have quite the opposite effect. In business, women struggle to break through the glass ceiling. In the Jewish world, it is the men – as grooms – who struggle to break through the glass on the floor.

At one point during each traditional Jewish wedding ceremony, the chatan (groom) has the spotlight at performing a “trickier-than-it-seems” act of shattering a glass with his right foot.   The breaking of the glass carries a spiritually deep symbolism for the Jewish people, as it brings to memory the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.  On a lighter note, the Groom cannot wait for his big moment.  For brides have the bridal dress and the grooms steps on something to destroy, or crush.  Pretty for the bride and smashing something for the groom during one of his most STEPS in life.

However, the ladies of today, are so called…STEPPING IN on this SMASHING custom and joining in on the fun.  Rabbi Andrea Frank, the Jewish Wedding Rabbi has had to teach the ladies how to SMASH the GLASS wearing heels!  It’s a hoot!

The symbolism of the breaking glass can be also interpreted on another level as a symbol of finality. In a sense, just as a broken glass cannot be restored, neither can the physical and spiritual state of a single individual be recreated after being connected to another through the wedding vows.

Three is a charm; so on a third level, the stomping on a glass can be jokingly referred to as the last time mostly geared toward the husbands soon to be… gets to put his foot down in the matters of his private life, in his marriage.  Actually, it is an Old Jewish Joke. For it is quite common, even in today’s times, the woman tends to multi-task in the home, in the marriage, taking caring of most on an organizational level.  However, I have heard many men are quite organized as well.  It does not matter whether it is a heterosexual couple or same sex couple, each have their strengths and contribution to the marriage.


You may think that shattering a glass with your foot is no brain surgery; yet if done improperly, a different type of surgery may be needed. If the glass isn’t wrapped in a napkin well enough, sharp fragments may penetrate the sole of the groom’s shoe or even fly out as projectiles and injure the bride or other wedding guests close by. Also if the glass is too sturdy, it can slide out from under the groom’s foot and cause all kinds of embarrassing calamities.  Rabbi Andrea remembers well, a groom stepped on the glass only for it to exit the pull string bag and roll down a marble staircase without breaking or even a chip.  G-d certainly was with this groom, for he only wanted him to have his big moment.

There are no ramifications when the groom misses for keep in mind, practice does make perfect.

Mazel Tov!

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