Matrimony initiates not a mere change of lifestyle, but an opening into a dimension of existence that is incomparable to any other. Each spouse becomes acutely aware of the other’s wants and their role as a couple.
The promise to be sensitive to the other’s needs as one would be to one’s own; the opening of trust that allows for shared intimacy; and, the understanding that marriage is far from being solely a private affair, opens a new world guided by a principle that Judaism calls “hesed.”
The untranslatable word “hesed” encapsulates all those interpersonal character qualities that Judaism considers to be the highest in life: Love, respect, care, trust, loyalty.
Whereas in the past Jewish weddings were rituals sealing a legal transaction, in the 21st century the Jewish marriage ceremony is designed to express a couple’s inner feelings, their highest values and deepest hopes.
The Jewish wedding ceremony is a joyous and transcendental experience that calls for anticipation, awe and reverence.