Last Sunday I had the pleasure of being at a wonderful wedding. Near the end of the chuppah, the officiating rabbi who was also the father of the bride explained the ritual of the breaking of the glass. Many people who know nothing of Jewish law, tradition, or history know that you break a glass at the end of the Jewish wedding. This custom is based on an event mentioned in Berachot 30b where Mar, the son of Ravina, was making a wedding for his son. When he saw that the guests were becoming overly joyful, he took an expensive glass and broke it in front of them, thereby tempering their joy. But what is wrong with being joyful at a wedding?
One reason is that we were learn to recall the destruction of the Temple. This is based on the verse, “I shall elevate Jerusalem above my greatest of joys” (Psalm 137:1-6). A wedding is our highest joy, but even at this moment Mar teaches us that we need to keep Jerusalem higher in our consciousness.
I have been to many weddings in my life, but none like this one. Last week when I was in Israel I put the new App Red Alert: Israel by Kobi Snir on my iPhone. Red Alert provides real-time alerts every time a terrorist fires rockets, mortars or missiles into the State of Israel. Without exaggeration I can say that my phone alert went off more than 15 times during the Chuppah. There is no doubt that I was keeping Jerusalem over my highest joy. People ask me why I did not take the App off my phone after having left Israel. As my phone was going off in my breast pocket I was thinking about Rabbi Yehudah HaLevi‘s famous quote describing life in the Diaspora, “Libi BaMizrach VaAni BeSof Maarav– My heart is in Jerusalem although I am living physically in the farthest part of the west.” We should be standing under the chuppah and not sitting in bomb shelters. We should be breaking glasses and not dropping bombs. We need a lasting peace for everyone. And I hope that the buzzing on my phone stops soon.
Shabbat Shalom – And I mean Shalom.