HLM Banner HLM banner

Under the Wedding Canopy

Under the Wedding Canopy

Credit:https://pixabay.com/en/atoll-decor-decorations-destination-1854069/

“Make the heart of this people calloused;
    make their ears dull 
    and close their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.” — Isaiah 6:10

The Torah portion for this week is Yitro, which means “Jethro,” from Exodus 18:1–20:23, and the Haftorah is from Isaiah 6:1–13.

Every wedding is beautiful, and Jewish weddings are no exception. But we do something that may seem a little strange to an outsider. As the bride and groom get ready to become husband and wife, they stand under a beautiful canopy called a chupah. There, in front of their family and friends, the groom gives the bride a ring and declares that she is his wife. Then the wedding document, known as the ketubah, is read. Everyone is smiling and teary-eyed, but not everyone realizes what this document says.

The ketubah is, in fact, a contract stipulating the terms and conditions of the marriage. It talks about the obligations of the groom to his wife and what he would owe her if he left her. It’s an important document, no doubt. But under the chupah? The couple hasn’t been married more than two minutes and already we are talking about divorce?

Judaism doesn’t mean to take the fun and romance out of a wedding, but it does mean to interject a very important concept: Marriage is a wonderful privilege, but it is also an incredible responsibility. Good marriages are about love and commitment. Love without commitment is not dependable. Commitment without love is dry.

When God gives the children of Israel the Ten Commandments and the Bible, it is compared to a marriage between God and His people. The children of Israel say: “We will do everything the LORD has said” (Exodus 19:8), and they accept God’s gift. But then, according to Jewish tradition, God does something a little strange. He holds a mountain over their heads and says in essence, “Keep the Torah, and if not, you will be buried here.” The Jewish sages explain that holding the mountain over their heads was like the chupah and God’s words were like the ketubah. God was telling His people that commitment must accompany their love for Him.

In this week’s Haftorah portion, we read about what happens when the contract between God and His people is breached. In Isaiah 6:10, God said that His people weren’t seeing, weren’t listening, and they were not thinking. If they had, or if they did, God said they would know that they were disobeying the Bible and bringing destruction upon themselves. And if they had understood that, they might repent and change. God was telling His children that they had broken the contract and now would pay the price.

The message here for us is that our service to God must be filled with love and commitment. That means that we may have to take certain actions, even when we don’t feel like it and speak up even when it is tough. But love is a commitment – and it goes both ways.

Re-commit yourself to God today, and He will do the same.

 

Hebrew Word of the Day

February 17, 2017

— Under the Wedding Canopy

YAEL'S HOLY LAND REFLECTIONS

Your Blessings During Israel’s Crisis

While last week Israel found herself under attack once again, with the help of Christians around the world, a difficult time became a demonstrations of great blessing.

Monthly Teaching Resource

The Life of Abraham - Our Incredible Patriarch Bible Study

Download our free Bible Study to learn more about God's incredible promises to Abraham, and how those promises extend through the ages to us today.

How to Help

Bless Those In Need

You can be a blessing to a lonely Holocaust survivor or suffering Jewish family living in unthinkable conditions who have nowhere else to turn. Please join us in helping these precious souls — your gift today will help provide food, medicine, and shelter to someone in desperate need.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay informed about issues affecting Israel, the Jewish people, Jewish-Christian relations, receive daily devotionals, and more.