“Life is like a wedding.” So Jewish wisdom teaches. What does this mean?

wedding canopy

One rabbi says it is the Jewish equivalent of “carpe diem, seize the day, live life to its fullest.” This rabbi points to one of the Hebrew words for wedding, Huppah.

Huppah means wedding, but it also refers to the wedding canopy.  A canopy goes up. Then, soon after the marriage ceremony, it is taken down. Our lives are similar.

We are here for a brief period. Then we are no more. During that brief period, we should live as if we are at a wedding, celebrating, making merry, enjoying ourselves with legitimate pleasures.

A More Original Idea

This is a nice interpretation, but it is not especially creative or unique. Another rabbi–this one from the 18th century–offers a more original insight.

“How is life like a wedding?” he asks. At a wedding, we are surrounded by activity. There is conversation, food, dancing, pictures, videos, drinking, waiters walking back and forth, and lots of speeches.

In other words, a wedding is full of motion and activity. It can be exciting and wonderful.

The Most Critical Ingredient

Yet, it must have one key ingredient. Without an exchange of vows–without a ceremony in which a bride and groom commit themselves to one another–all of that activity lacks meaning.

Without that overriding purpose, the toasts are mere gestures, and the dancing is strange and over the top. With the commitment between bride and groom, everything makes sense. Without it, they are empty and irrelevant.

They are simply turnings of the wheels. They are, as Shakespeare put it, “full of sound and fury clocksignifying nothing.”

Do You Have It?

The same truth applies to us. We can busy ourselves in a whirlwind of activity. We can work, rest, raise a family, play tennis, get active in politics, volunteer, and much more.

Yet, if we are not conscious of why-if we do not have a commitment to something larger than ourselves–we are turning the wheels in place. We are substituting sex for love, activity for engagement, gestures for meaning.

The entire purpose of faith is to endow our lives with meaning. It is to elevate activities that might seem mundane into deeds that bristle with holiness.

Life without faith is like a wedding without a bride and groom. It is through community and study and relationships that we discover that faith. And this faith is the thread that ties our life together.

Rabbi Evan

I show the way Jewish wisdom make our lives richer and happier. In particular, I help Jews appreciate their heritage and Christians uncover the Jewish roots of their faith. Get my FREE Jewish holidays cheat sheet by clicking here.

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