The vows in the Jewish wedding ceremony are simple. As the groom puts the ring on the bride's finger, he says, "Behold, you are consecrated to me according to the laws of Moses and Israel." Then comes the reading of the ketubah, a contract dating at least to the second century CE. The traditional version names the date and place of the wedding, and then details the monetary settlement the groom will owe the bride in case of divorce . . . I remember once upon a time thinking that this was a very grave but profound and insightful way to begin a marriage , this recognition of the possibility of failure. I now feel discomfited when sitting through this segment of Jewish weddings, when it is laid bare that I am indeed watching a contractual agreement, not a sacramental covenant; and I have to remind myself that Hebrew Scripture, Old Testament permits divorce under many circumstance. It is only with Jesus' stern words to the Pharisees that divorce became a very occasional exception to the ever more normative lifelong marriage.
"In this nuptial particular, I feel that Christianity tells the best story. But theology, I realize, is different from sociology, and the statistics --which show evangelical Christians divorcing at a rate just slightly higher than that of the rest of America -- suggest that however perfect in theory, that something about Christian marriage-making (Or, at least, Christian marriage-keeping) does not work. And here is where Jewish nuptials, depressing ketubah makes my shoulders tense up, everything that surround the ketubah makes good sense. I wish we could import some of it to the church."
". . . Under the chuppah (four cornered canopy that symbolizes among other things "the sure protection of God's love."), after the exchange of rings and the reading of the ketubah and the pronouncing of blessings, comes the famous breaking of glass--the groom crushes a goblet (wrapped in a packet or bag, of course) under his feet. The broken glass warns of the frailty of marriage. It also recalls the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem, a somber comment of Jewish history that should be remembered at even the most joyous occasions. Another interpretation hold that the loud crunch of the glass scares off all demons who might have been hanging around, plotting to trip up the wedding party . . ."