“Kol sasson vekol simhah, kol hatan vekol kallah…”
In the footsteps of a young couple’s engagement comes a dizzying whirlwind of preparation for the upcoming wedding. Shopping for gowns, furniture, suits as well finding an apartment takes over a good chunk of the schedule of the soon-to-be bride and groom. And as they run around, preparing for their new life together, it becomes easy to forget about just that: that they are preparing to spend the rest of their lives together.
Before the couple knows it, the countdown on the calendar winds down until it has been entirely crossed off, and the wedding day arrives. On this day, that the couple has dreamed of for so long, it is natural to become submerged in the nitty-gritty – getting dressed for the occasion, taking pictures and greeting guests – nearly forgetting what this most extraordinary day is all about.
It is crucial for the couple to take a step back from the flurry of activity that surrounds the day, and recognize that the wedding is, in fact, the foundation of their future. The wedding day, encased in purity and sanctity, gives the couple a unique opportunity as they cross over the threshold from singlehood into married life.
The Gates of Heaven Stand Wide Open
The Talmud Yerushalmi states that on their wedding day, a bride and groom are granted complete atonement for all their sins. In essence, this makes the wedding day a kind of “Yom Kippur” for the couple. As they stand pure, their prayers on this day are especially powerful. Prior to the wedding, a couple should be aware that the gates of prayer are wide open to them throughout this holy time, and particularly as they stand underneath the huppah where the Shechinah dwells.
The couple should do all that they can to seize this prime opportunity for tefillah. Yes, enjoying the wedding is also of upmost importance, but the bride and groom should each take time to beseech Hashem for a peaceful, loving, and joyous home. These prayers create a seed that will form the root of their bayit ne’eman be’Yisrael, and with Hashem’s help, bear blessing, health, peace, and prosperity throughout the rest of their lives.
It is normal for the couple to become overwhelmed, and in the excitement of the moment, forget what they intended to pray for. Therefore, it is a good idea for the bride and groom to take time before the wedding to write a list of what they wish to pray for.
When penning the list, the bride and groom should note that this is a time to ask for a successful marriage, children, health. and longevity. They can also ask for family members, friends, and community members to have success in all their endeavors. Adding to the list the names of those who are sick and struggling, and keeping them in mind during this holy day, is a beautiful act of giving. The couple can also pray for the wellbeing of the Jewish people as a whole and for Mashiah to come speedily and peacefully in our days.
A Day of Prayers and Blessings for All
Hundreds of people come out to rejoice with the bride and groom on their wedding day, and during the huppah, the guests should also take advantage of this momentous occasion to pray. As mentioned, the Shehinah is present during the huppah, and each guest should ensure to make the most of this unique opportunity for prayer. It is crucial to respect the holiness of the day by sitting quietly and dressing and behaving in a modest fashion.
When dancing with the guests, the bride and groom can once again take the time to bless each one, wishing health, happiness and success for all. The Talmud teaches, “Anyone who prays for his fellow and he has that same need – he is answered first.” And so, when a bride and groom bless and pray for others, they are effectively making the best possible investment, as these tefillot will, with Hashem’s help, increase their own future happiness and success.
Note to the bride and groom: you have a unique power of prayer on your wedding day, and you can use it to give to others and build a solid foundation for your own lives. So, as you walk into a beautiful life together, make it all the more beautiful by clutching onto the holiness of your wedding day and pouring out your hearts in prayer.