At a Jewish wedding, and any large enough meal the newly-wed couple attend for the week following, will contain the Sheva Brachot, translating to Seven Blessings.
This integral part of a Jewish wedding ceremony is recited over a cup of wine and are blessings of joy and happiness for the newly married couple. Lots of people recite these without even knowing the meaning or depth behind them, which is a pity given how special these messages are to capture the beauty of the start of a marriage.
- בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן… Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.
This blessing acknowledges God as the Creator of the vine and its fruit, symbolizing the joy and happiness that come from the fruit of the vine – wine. This blessing connects the wedding ceremony to the idea of celebrating and rejoicing through the drinking of wine.
- שֶׁהַכֹּל בָּרָא לִכְבוֹדוֹ… Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has created all things for His glory.
This blessing recognizes God as the Creator of all things and acknowledges that everything in the world was created to manifest His glory. In the context of a wedding, it highlights the divine purpose behind marriage and the potential for the couple to bring honor to God through their union. By them creating a new Jewish home—changing material and spiritual reality—they are playing a part in Creation as God intended.
- יוֹצֵר הָאָדָם… Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Creator of mankind.
This blessing acknowledges God as the Creator of humanity and emphasizes the sacredness of human life. In the context of a wedding, it reminds the couple of their shared humanity and the divine element within each of them.
- אֲשֶׁר יָצַר אֶת הָאָדָם בְּצַלְמוֹ, בְּצֶלֶם דְּמוּת תַּבְנִיתוֹ, וְהִתְקִין לוֹ מִמֶּנּוּ בִּנְיַן עֲדֵי עַד: בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְ-יָ, יוֹצֵר הָאָדָם… Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who created man in His image, in the image [of His] likeness [He fashioned] his form, and prepared for him from his own self an everlasting edifice. Blessed are You, Lord, Creator of man.
This blessing expands upon the previous one by emphasizing that God created humanity in His image and likeness. It also mentions that God prepared an everlasting edifice (referring to the human body) from His own self. This blessing highlights the spiritual aspect of humans and their capacity to form a deep and eternal bond through marriage.
Talmudic Source: The concept of humans being created in God’s image and likeness is rooted in the Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 38a.
- שׂוֹשׂ תָּשִׂישׂ וְתָגֵל הָעֲקָרָה, בְּקִבּוּץ בָּנֶיהָ לְתוֹכָהּ בְּשִׂמְחָה: בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְ-יָ, מְשַׂמֵּחַ צִיּוֹן בְּבָנֶיהָ. May the barren one [Jerusalem] rejoice and be happy at the ingathering of her children to her midst in joy. Blessed are You, Lord, who gladdens Zion with her children.
This blessing is a poetic expression of joy, linking the happiness of the wedding to the hopeful restoration of Jerusalem (Zion) and the reunion of her children. It signifies the hope for future generations and the continuity of the Jewish people. Moreover, it is a wish that future generations will only know a rebuilt Jerusalem.
- שַׂמַּח תְּשַׂמַּח רֵעִים הָאֲהוּבִים, כְּשַׂמֵּחֲךָ יְצִירְךָ בְּגַן עֵֽדֶן מִקֶּֽדֶם: בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְ-יָ, מְשַׂמֵּחַ חָתָן וְכַלָּה. Grant abundant joy to these loving friends, as You bestowed gladness upon Your created being in the Garden of Eden of old. Blessed are You, Lord, who gladdens the groom and bride.
This blessing requests abundant joy for the loving couple, comparing their joy to the bliss experienced by the first man and woman (Adam and Eve) in the Garden of Eden. It expresses the hope that the couple’s love and happiness will be enduring and reflect the pure joy of the original human creation.
- בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְ-יָ אֱלֹהֵ-ינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר בָּרָא שָׂשׂוֹן וְשִׂמְחָה, חָתָן וְכַלָּה, גִּילָה רִנָּה דִּיצָה וְחֶדְוָה, אַהֲבָה וְאַחֲוָה שָׁלוֹם וְרֵעוּת, מְהֵרָה יְ-יָ אֱלֹהֵ-ינוּ יִשָּׁמַע בְּעָרֵי יְהוּדָה וּבְחוּצוֹת יְרוּשָׁלָיִם, קוֹל שָׂשׂוֹן וְקוֹל שִׂמְחָה, קוֹל חָתָן וְקוֹל כַּלָּה, קוֹל מִצְהֲלוֹת חֲתָנִים מֵחֻפָּתָם, וּנְעָרִים מִמִּשְׁתֵּה נְגִינָתָם: בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְ-יָ, מְשַׂמֵּחַ חָתָן עִם הַכַּלָּה. Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who created joy and happiness, groom and bride, gladness, jubilation, cheer and delight, love, friendship, harmony and fellowship. May the sound of joy and the sound of happiness, the voice of a groom and the voice of a bride, the sound of exultation of grooms from under their chupah, and youths from their joyous banquets be heard in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. Blessed are You, Lord, who gladdens the groom and the bride.
This final blessing combines all aspects of joy and happiness related to the wedding celebration. It includes the joy of the groom and bride, the love and friendship shared between them, and the overall sense of harmony and fellowship that accompanies the union. Additionally, it expresses a prayer for the continued celebration of weddings and happiness a marriage bring to the entire Jewish community. It is particularly common to sing this final bracha, pausing to theothers sing the section “Meheira” before completing.
The Sheva Brachot have a strong historical basis, and can be seen in the Oral Torah, especially tractate Brachot. The Sheva Brachot emphasize the significance of marriage, the sanctity of human relationships, and the hope for joy and blessings to be bestowed upon the couple and the entire community. Said over a glass of wine or grape juice, this is a time of merriment, and the week following offers even more time to extend the beauty of the start of a life together in more intimate dinners with friends and family.