I've never been to nor participated in a wedding that did not include wine in some way, often in substantial ways. Of course, the drinking of wine at weddings, in various forms, is always a part of the event, though most often at the reception or dinner that follows. And my and Kathy's wedding will be no different. We'll be serving Mayo Family Winery Sparkling Brut in honor of my best man and we'll be serving Failla Pinot and Chardonnay, in honor of the good people at Failla where Kathy works.
But what really interests me is the use of wine in the wedding ceremony. In our Jewish ceremony wine has a prominent place, and a beautiful one at that.
A Wine Ceremony will in fact seal our covenant of marriage with "sweetness". At the ceremony Kathy and I and our guests will hear Rabbi Jerry tell the gathered:
"As you share this cup of sweetness, be deeply grateful for the physical and spiritual bounties of life. As you drink from this cup, may you draw contentment and find happiness from the cup of life. Thereby may you experience life's joys as doubly gladdening, life's bitterness sweetened, and all things hallowed by true companionship and love."
And at this point, Kathy and I will drink wine from the cup and Rabbi Jerry will declare:
"Baruch Atah YHVH/Adonai,
Eloheinu Melech Ha-Olam –
Borei p'ri ha-gafen"
"Praised are You,* Lord our God, King of the Universe-Creator of the fruit of the vine."
Now, I get why "creator of the fruit of the vine" gets second billing after "King of the Universe". Makes sense. One is more impressive than the other, if only because the vine is encompassed by the universe. Still, given the shortness of this blessing, it's pretty cool that the Vine makes it in there above all other things the King presumably created.
I'm not much of a traditionally spiritual fellow, though I know a bit about the Abrahamic religions.That said, it thrills me to no end that within the spiritual tradition under which I will wed Kathy, wine is such an important symbol of joy and that it will be used to sanctify the upcoming Kiddushin.