Halacha for Sunday 12 Av 5780 August 2 2020

The Customary Breaking of the Glass Under the Chuppah

The verse in Tehillim (Chapter 137) states: “If I forget you, Jerusalem, let me forget my right hand; let my tongue stick to my palate if I do not remember you, if I do not mention Jerusalem at the peak of my joy.” The Gemara in Masechet Baba Batra (60b) states that “at the peak of my joy” refers to the ashes placed on the head of a groom on his wedding day in commemoration of the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash. Indeed, many Ashkenazi communities observe this custom until today.

This custom is mentioned by the Rambam and Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch as follows: “When the groom marries his bride, he must take ashes and place them on his head in the place where the Tefillin are laid, as the verse (Yeshaya 61) states, “To place for the mourners of Zion glory instead of ash” and Tefillin are referred to as ‘glory’.” The Rif and Rosh rule likewise.

Maran Ha’Bet Yosef quotes the Kol Bo who writes that there are certain places where this custom is not observed, for they are concerned that the Tefillin of this groom may not be valid, in which case we are concerned that just as he has not fulfilled the edict of “ash instead of glory” now, he will likewise not merit the promise of “glory instead of ash” in the future. An alternative custom is observed though where the groom breaks a glass after the Seven Blessings are recited under the Chuppah (wedding canopy). This is indeed our custom, whereas the groom breaks a glass under the Chuppah in commemoration of the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash.

Rabbeinu Yosef Tarani, in his Sefer Tzafenat Pane’ach, writes that the reason why specifically a glass is broken is in order to hint that just as glass can be repaired after it has been broken by melting it down and forming a new cup, so too, the Jewish nation can likewise be “repaired” by Hashem redeeming them eternally.

Maran zt”l points out on this topic that nowadays, a new baseless custom has emerged which is that at the time the groom breaks the glass, joyous shouts of “Mazal Tov” erupt from those assembled. Sometimes, even the groom tries to break the glass with all his might childishly. Thus, the true meaning of this beautiful custom which is intended to show agony over the destruction of our holy Temple and raise Jerusalem to the peak of our joy has been changed to a trivial custom of jesting and light-headedness. Other great Poskim have already pointed this out. It is therefore appropriate that the groom recite the verse “If I forget you Jerusalem” before breaking the glass and in this way, people may slowly realize the intended message of this age-old custom.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Sucking On a Fruit

Question: If one sucks on an orange or a grapefruit but does not chew it with one’s teeth, must one recite the “Boreh Peri Ha’etz” like on other fruits or should one recite the “Shehakol” blessing like one would when drinking other fruit juices? Answer: Indeed,......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Precedence Regarding Blessings (Continued)

In the previous Halacha we have explained that there are instances that priority is given to recite a blessing upon a certain food over another because of the innate significance of the given food, for instance, because it is a fruit that belongs to the Seven Species of fruits that the Land of Israe......

Read Halacha

Making Toast on a Hotplate on Shabbat

Question: May one place a pita or a slice of bread on a hotplate on Shabbat in order to turn it into hard and crunchy toast? Answer: There are two prohibitions we must discuss with regards to our question of making toast on Shabbat out of bread that was already baked before Shabbat. The first ......

Read Halacha

The Laws of the Blessing on Fruits

In the previous Halachot we have explained that there is an order of priority regarding blessings. Thus, if one wishes to partake of apples and dates, one must recite the blessing on the dates, for they are one of the Seven Species. Precedence Regarding Blessing-Only Preferable Maran Ha’Be......

Read Halacha


Precedence Regarding the Order of Blessings (Continued)

Summary of the Laws Explained Thus Far In the previous Halachot we have explained that there is an order of priority regarding blessings, sometimes because of the innate importance of the food and sometimes due to the importance of the blessing. Priority of “Boreh Peri Ha’etz”......

Read Halacha

Sitting on Food Items

Question: Is it correct that one may not sit on top of a box containing food or beverages? Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Berachot (50b) states that it is forbidden to act in a degrading manner towards food. Thus, one may not, for instance, use a piece of cake to wipe up a drink that spilled on t......

Read Halacha

Salting Cucumbers on Shabbat

Question: Is it correct that one may not put salt on cucumbers on Shabbat? Answer: The root of this question lies in the fact that with regards to many Torah laws, we rule that “pickling is tantamount to cooking” meaning that a pickled food is considered like a cooked food. Thus, just......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Precedence Regarding Blessings

On the night of Tu Bishvat, which will fall out this coming Wednesday night, it is customary to eat a variety of fruits. We shall therefore learn the proper order of the Blessings of Enjoyment during the coming days. We should point out that these laws are fairly simple but we will need to discus......

Read Halacha