The Beloved Tradition of Jewish Wedding Glass: FB Live #128th October 2016

Risa on Facebook Live

See the video or read the transcript below of my first Facebook Live where I discuss the symbolism of breaking the Jewish wedding glass. Enjoy!

Hi, my name is Risa. Welcome to my first Facebook Live. I’m excited that you’re here with me today and I’m going to be, I want to introduce myself. I’m the owner of Jewish Gift Place. It’s a business that has been online for 10 years. In 2017 will mark the 10 year anniversary, so I’m very excited about spending the last 10 years shopping for handmade Judaica to present on my website.

I love handmade items. I’ve always loved handmade items. I do arts and crafts all the time, so it’s a love of mine and I’m happy to share that with you. I want to talk today about one of the most popular gifts that I sell at Jewish Gift Place and that’s Jewish wedding gifts and, specifically, Jewish wedding glass. Jewish wedding glass has been a tradition for hundreds, if not thousands of years –  about 2,000 years, and I’ll talk about the origins of it.

But in the past, like in my wedding, almost 27 years ago, the groom would crush a light bulb. You’d put a light bulb in a piece of cloth. The groom would stomp on it. It would make a loud sound and people would shout out, “Mazal Tov!” But in the last five years or so, artists, like one of my most prolific artists, Gary Rosenthal, is making the broken wedding glass a memento. Not just a light bulb, but a very special piece of glass.

So I’m going to show off some broken wedding glass, and then what the couple does is they save that broken wedding glass and they put it in a piece of Judaica to save in their home as a wonderful reminder of their wedding ceremony. So I’m going to show off some broken wedding glass just to give you an idea of what it is, and then I will get into 10 different interpretations of the meaning of the broken wedding glass.

Jews and non-Jews alike might be at a Jewish wedding ceremony and wonder what is this joyous occasion, this joyous event. It’s one of the most beloved traditions in a Jewish wedding ceremony and so I’m going to show that to you, but first I’m going to show you what broken wedding glass is. This is a decorative broken wedding glass. This is in the color turquoise. It’s made by Gary Rosenthal. It comes with a cloth and I’m just going to show you other colors that broken wedding glass comes in.

Jewish Wedding Glass

This is turquoise, let’s see. Oh no, I’m sorry. This is green. This is red broken wedding glass. Purple. All the broken wedding glass that we sell comes in a pouch. This is the most popular color, blue broken wedding glass, and it gets wrapped in a cloth and the shards get saved in the bag.

So first I’m going to talk about the beginnings of broken wedding glass. It first appears in the Talmud and Mar, the son of Ravina, was having a wedding for his son, and he found that the guests were very joyful, very boisterous, so he took an expensive wedding goblet and crushed it on the floor, which made shards of broken wedding glass.

He felt that his guests were overly joyful and he felt like even in times of joy, people shouldn’t get carried away, because then you might forget yourself and it could lead to sin, and that you have to temper your joy because of other sad things that exist.

So that’s the background of it, but there’s been lots of spin on that interpretation, and lots of interesting interpretations of the broken wedding glass, so I’m going to go through ten of them with you now.

  1. A first interpretation is that it symbolizes the destruction of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem in the first century. It is also a reminder to temper our joy because even during our most joyous times, life can be filled with sadness. That is the first one and the most common one tied to the ancient Temple in Jerusalem.
  2. A second interpretation also tied with the Temple is to recall the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem based on the verse, I shall elevate Jerusalem above my greatest joys.
  3. A third interpretation is the broken wedding glass symbolizes the Jewish couple’s pledge to rebuild the Temple of their own lives by building a Jewish home.
  4. A fourth interpretation is a mystical reason. Since the couple is surrounded by such joy, a negative force of judgment may be aroused against them, so the breaking of the glass deflects away this judgment and they emerge unscathed.
  5. A fifth interpretation is that it symbolizes the fragility of human relationships. Great care must be taken to maintain the bond of marriage.
  6. A sixth interpretation is that it symbolizes the permanence of marriage. Like broken glass will never return to its prior state, a married couple have entered into a new state together.
  7. Another interpretation is that the abundance of wedding shards represents the abundance of happiness that the newlyweds shall have in their lives.
  8. Number eight is that it is a reminder that life holds both joy and sorrow. As the couple stands under the chupah in great happiness, their commitment must remain strong through good times and bad.
  9. The one that’s sort of tongue in cheek is that it’s the last time that the husband can put his foot down.
  10. The last one, which is my favorite interpretation, is that it represents, it’s a representation of the newly married couple breaking with their old lives and stepping forward into their new life together.

So those are 10 different interpretations of it. It’s subject to interpretation and people can come up with their own meaningful interpretations. It’s a beautiful ceremony and it’s something that people look forward to, especially when the prayers have been said, the rabbi says, “I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride.”

Then the groom steps on the glass and everyone shouts out, “Mazel tov,” which is  wonderful, and if you’re caught up in the joy of it, it’s a very exciting time.

So I also wanted to show you some pieces made by Gary Rosenthal that hold the broken wedding glass and the first one I’m going to show you is a sculpture. This sells for $90 by Gary Rosenthal and it comes in two styles. This one is plain on the front and back, but there’s another one that says, “Ani L’dodi v’dodi li.” This is the biggest piece that holds wedding glass. Open up the top and you put the glass inside and it can hold the entire contents of a broken wedding glass.

Jewish wedding glass holder

Another absolutely adorable piece, it sells for $35, is a love sculpture. It has a tube and many people who see this on the website wonder how it works and they think that they have to mail the glass back to me to assemble it, but I just want to show you that this is a tube. It’s covered with decorative foil. There’s a cork. You spill out the glass that comes with it, or you can mix it in with your own if you like the different colors, and then you just put it back into the piece and it’s a wonderful memento.

Love sculpture

It also comes in Hebrew. This spells, “Ahava,”and it has the tube to hold the broken wedding glass.

Ahava wedding sculpture

On a larger scale, this is a large love sculpture. This sells for $80 and it also comes with personalization, which is additional. Personalization on glass is $45 or on brass it’s $30, but it’s a wonderful memento to commemorate this special day and it has the removable tube for the wedding glass.


It also comes in Hebrew. Love.

Ahava sculpture

Gary Rosenthal has a huge selection of pieces that carry wedding glass. I’m going to show you a few more, but he makes sculptures, mezuzahs, candlesticks, menorahs, dreidels.  I think that covers it and they’re all beautiful, but I wanted to show off a couple of mezuzahs.

This is a mezuzah that holds the broken wedding glass. Here’s the tube in the front and in the back is where the scroll goes, but this is beautiful.

This is another mezuzah. It has a tiny window in the bottom to show the broken wedding glass and there’s a tube in here. You can see you put the glass in the bottom.

Jewish wedding glass mezuzah

Here is another mezuzah; one tube holds the broken wedding glass and one holds the scroll.

Jewish wedding glass mezuzah

So I hope you have enjoyed my first presentation today –  my first Facebook Live on Jewish wedding glass. I look forward to bringing more of these presentations to you.

And for joining me today, I want to thank you. Visit my website, Take 15% off any item through next Wednesday. Use coupon code FBL15. I have a huge selection of wedding gifts, Bar Mitzvah gifts, Hanukkah is coming up. I have jewelry, sculptures, candlesticks, and a whole assortment of Judaica, specifically handmade Judaica.

Also,  you could subscribe to this channel on Facebook so you’ll know when I’m having an upcoming Facebook Live, and also I’d love it if you would join my newsletter. You could go to the website, In the menu, you’ll see a link to “connect with us” and to sign up for our newsletter. I get one out about once a week. I have a contest once a week right here on Facebook where you could win art prints or a kippah or jewelry.  The contest is the beginning of a quote and you have to fill in the end of the quote, and a winner is randomly chosen.

So in the newsletter I talk about contests. I put in quotes, new artists, new items, so it’s a great place to find out the latest about Jewish Gift Place. So thank you, thank you very much for joining me here today. I look forward to doing more of these and most importantly, I want to hear your feedback. What are you interested in learning more about? Do you want to hear about all the jewelry that I’m wearing which is handmade by Jewish Gift Place artists? I have this gorgeous bracelet that I’ll talk about another time made by Classic Legacy. So hi, Catherine, if you’re watching.

Join me again next time and leave comments. Bye.

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