Symbolism of the Simple Wedding Band
all cultures and religions, the wedding ring is a symbol of love and commitment.
However, in a Jewish marriage, the wedding band has special meaning. In the
time of the Talmud, a man would give a woman a coin worth a small amount of
money. Today, in a Jewish wedding ceremony, the groom gives the bride a simple
wedding band – one without engravings, gemstones, or other decorations. Traditionally,
the ring is made of pure gold. However, a more contemporary version of the custom
says that the ring may be made of any type of metal. The band must be completely
flawless because it represents a marriage that is unharmed by conflict, flaw,
or show. A Jewish wedding ring also symbolizes a chain that unites generations.
A perfect way to enhance the elegance of your wedding ring is to engrave a meaningful
Hebrew verse on it. The Hebrew wedding ring contains the prayer that the couple
will start a family together, and thereby add another link to the chain of Jewish
history. The unending circle also represents the couple’s undying love and respect
for one another.
Symbolism of the Circle
In Judasim, a circle represents the idea of encountering the same experience
over and over again but with a deeper insight each time. As you come around
the circle, you hope to be able to learn from your previous experiences and
show personal growth when encountering a familiar situation. When a new couple
is standing under a chuppah, anticipating life together and all of the joys
and challenges it will bring, this is a perfect message to be reminded of.
Rules of the Simple Wedding Band
There are very specific customs in the presentation of the Jewish simple wedding band. The presentation of the simple wedding band actually signifies the betrothal stage of the marriage ceremony, which is the first of the two stages of a Jewish wedding.
The wedding band must first belong to the groom and then be given to the bride
as a gift. In some cases, the parents may actually purchase and pay for the
band. When this occurs, the parents must clearly give the groom the ring as
a gift, so it is in his possession. Then he may present it to his bride-to-be.
This is very important, because he is giving her this gift in order to be rewarded
her hand in marriage. Traditionally, the couple is not actually married until
the Kiddushin takes place in the wedding, or the betrothal. Giving the bride
an object of value is one way to do this.
The bride and groom must not actually exchange wedding bands. If this is the case, they are simply making a trade of something of value. This trade does not affect their marital status at all, meaning that the Kiddushin stage does not take place.
Presentation of the Simple Wedding Band
The bride and groom stand beneath the chupah, with the bride standing with her left side facing the wedding guests, and the groom facing her. The groom must then say the words, “You are betrothed to me…according to the laws of Moses and Israel.” The groom then slides the ring on his bride’s left ring finger, so that the witnesses in the audience can witness the act.
Photo by Arthaey Angosii, Flickr Creative Commons
Read all of the articles in our Jewish Wedding Traditions series: