From the earliest times, it was customary that the bride was blessed before marriage, as we learn in this week’s Parsha (Bereyshis 24:60) “… and they blesses Rivka …” In fact the Talmud (beginning of Maseches Kala) mentions that the blessings of the bride are hinted in this verse, (see Tosafos and other Rishonim to Kesuvos 7b, as to why the Talmud also learns these blessing from a different verse in the book of Rus). What is the significance of the seven blessings that we say on our weddings?




Our sages established seven special blessings for newlyweds. These blessings are said during the wedding (under the chuppah), and after benching (Birkas Hamazon) of each meal during the following seven days, if there is a minyan, and some of the present have not heard the blessing for this couple yet.


According to the Zohar and another Kabbalistic books, the general meaning of these blessings is that each woman, when she marries, is a projection of all the Jewish people and their spiritual root. This is another reason why the bride is referred to as a "kallah" – from a word “Kol” – all. Thus, she is blessed with the blessings that correspond to the seven Sefiros used by the Creator to rule the world. In general, Sefiros can be viewed as parts of Divine will or as ways of HanhagaHashem’s rule over the universe, see our words on Parshas Bereyshis for further explanation.


According to the Zohar, (Terumah, page 169) the Seven Brochos correspond to the following Seven Sefiros:


Who Creates the fruit of the Vine
Who Created everything for His glory
Who Created Adam
Who Created the first couple
Who makes Zion rejoice with Her children
Who makes the groom and bride happy
Who makes the groom happy with the bride 
Understanding (mother)


The bride herself is a projection of Malchus – Royalty. Thus, in the upper worlds, the Malchus  receives the spiritual flow from the Sefiros above, and in our world the bride is blessed with the seven blessings. In this small article we will try to explain a little bit the order of blessings and their correspondence to the Sefiros. Certainly, our comments should be regarded only as a drop in the sea, in comparison with the vast  depth of each word of these Brochos.


Some the general words about the order of blessings:


It is easy to notice, that seven blessings correspond to only seven Sefiros. Why were no blessings established corresponding to the other three Sefiros?


Regarding the last SefirahMalchus – it receives the blessings and consequently no Brocha is needed to correspond to it. This Sefirah is considered passive – it shows our readiness to accept Hashem’s rule and His blessings. Our nation is compared to the wife, and the Creator – to its husband. The giving of the Torah was the marriage union and when our people made the Golden Calf Moshe had to break the Tablets and this union was terminated. Later, the Creator accepted the entreaty of Moshe and restored our union through the second Tablets. In general, many elements of the Jewish wedding are similar to the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai (see "Made in Heaven" by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan). Now, Malchus is compared to the moon. Its light is only reflected light of the sun just as our nation receives everything only from the Creator. Sometimes we see the moon’s shiny surface, and sometimes none of its light reaches us. So is the readiness of our nation to accept light of the Creator varies throughout time. Therefore say every month in the blessing on the new moon, that our people will be renewed similarly to it ...


The souls of people come from different spiritual roots and also correspond to various Sefiros. The main soul corresponding Malchus is the soul of Dovid Hamelech. Dovid managed to rule justly over our people and during his time we have properly acccepted the Divine Malchus. His descendant – Moshiach will cause all people to accept the yoke of the Creator. (It is interesting, that Dovid's dynasty is also compared to the period of the moon. Dovid was in the fourteenth generation after Avraham, as is the Gematria (numerical value) of the name Dovid, just as the visible part of the moon continues to increase for fourteen days. Then, for the fifteenth day the moon shines it’s brightest, but by the end of day it starts to decrease. So too during the rule of Shlomo, the son Dovid, the peak was reached.  However, by the end of his life he sinned, and the prophets began to criticize him. Later, after another fourteen generations, the Holy Temple was destroyed and our people exiled ...)


As why there are no blessings corresponding first two Sefiros, the matter is that Binah includes also the two Sefiros above it. We find similarly, that there are seven spiritual heavens, and the seventh "sky" – Aravos corresponds to Bina and includes also two Sefiros above it. There are also seven levels of the land, seven deserts which our people passed after Exodus from Egypt, seven days of the week, seven levels of a Gehinom (Hell), etc.


It is possible to ask one more general question: why does Gevurah precede Chesed in the order of these blessings?


The matter is that the union between the man and the woman begins with the left side (the side of power and judgment). This is hinted by a verse in the Song of Songs: “His left hand is under my head, and the right one embraces me”. Similarly in the Mishkan (a portable temple in desert) gold corresponding to Gevurah is mentioned before silver which corresponds to Chesed.


After these general comments, we have brief specific comments on the seven blessings.


1... G-d created the  fruit of the grapevine. Wine is used in many Jewish precepts, such as Kiddush on Shabbos and holidays, in Havdalah after their end, during circumcision etc. According to the simple meaning, our sages compare the position of the soul and the body with a lame man sitting on the shoulders of a deaf person. When the lame heared pleasant music, and he wanted to dance, he gave the deaf person some wine and he started to hop. Thus, a little drink gives enjoyment to the body and then it takes pleasure together with the soul. It is interesting to note that among people, Gevurah corresponds to Yitzchak. The Torah describes how before blessing his son, he asks to have a drink of wine. In general, wine, is connected with the left side of judgment, and can be used both positively and negatively. The Torah describes the negative effect of wine on the righteous Noach ... Only wine of all drinks demands extra care – if it was touched by a non-Jew, it is forbidden to use it.


2... Created all in the glory. This blessing is connected with Chesed – kindness of the Creator. He Himself does not require anything; the creation of the world was totally altruistic. Among people, Chesed corresponds to Avraham. He was the first who has openly declared, that only the Creator of the world rules over everything and began to spread the knowledge of Hashem everywhere.


3:...Formed Adam. This blessing corresponds to Tiferes – harmony. Both this and following blessings end in the same way, but there is a great difference – this brocha speaks about the general formation of Man, one – in two persons. The following blessing mentions the split of the first person into two – the formation of the man and the woman. According to Kaballah, if we start with Netzach, the remaining Sefiros are directly connected to the last SefirahMalchus. Therefore, the first three blessings are general, and starting with the fourth, the bride is mentioned openly. Among people, Tiferes corresponds to Yakov who rectified the failures of Adam– the first man. In fact, according to many Kabbalistic sources, Yakov actually was a gilgul (rebirth) of Adam.


4... Formed the first couple. This blessing corresponds to Netzach – eternity. It is interesting that "eternity" is mentioned openly in this blessing. According to many Kabbalistic sources Dovid became attached to this Sefirah. (Even though Dovid's dynasty is connected to Malchus as we have already mentioned, nevertheless it receives its main energy from Netzach, see Zohar 1:21, 3:243; GR”A to the first chapter of Sifra Detzniusa. It is also mentioned in Kabbalistic literature that Dovid also continued the rectification that was not completed by Adam, and that he too was a gilgul of Adam. It is interesting to note  that our sages tell us that after his sin, Adam should have lived for one thousand years, but he give 70 of them to Dovid.)


5. … making Zion happy thru her children. Rashi explains the reason for placing this blessing here is because during our joyful moments we should remember destruction of Jerusalem and our exile. Thus, we express hope for a speedy deliverance from Galus. This blessing corresponds to Hod – splendor. Basically, this Sefirah, like Gevurah, is on the left side. So is the subject of this blessing. It is interesting, that our main exile is in the fifth millennium, corresponding to this Sefirah. The letters of “Hod” are the same as in the word “Dava” from the verse «all day she is ill» and the Zohar says, that the exile throughout the fifth millennium is hinted here. Similarly in the sixth millennium, Hod corresponds to the years of the World War 2.(see our article "The last ten centuries"). Among the souls of people, Yehoshua is connected to this Sefirah. As is known, he brought our people into the Land of Israel. Yehoshua was from the tribe of Ephraim, and so too, another descendant of Ephraim, Moshiach ben Yosef, will start the rdemption. His soul too is connected with Hod (see Zohar 1:21, 3:243).


6: … Making happy the groom and the bride. This blessing is connected with Yesod: foundation. Rashi explains that this blessing, unlike the following, is not on the union of the groom and the bride. Rather here they receive their blessings separately. Therefore, it also ends with words "Who makes happy the groom and the bride". In the following brocha they are blessed together, the blessing thus ends: "Who makes happy the groom with the bride!" In general, Yesod combines the light of Sefiros above and brings it down to Malchus. For example, among people Yoseph corresponds to Yesod, and he supported Egypt and its neighboring countries during the famine. (This may also be the reason, Rashi says, that in this blessing the newlyweds are promised a good livelihood.)


7: … Who makes happy the groom with the bride. This blessing is connected with Bina – understanding. In Kaballah, Bina is often referred to as mother – this Sefirah is considered to be giving birth to the Sefiros below it. There are 50 words in this blessing, just as there are 50 Shaarey Bina – gates of understanding (see the Talmud, Nedarim, 38). Often this Sefirah is associated with the soul of Moshe. It is thus mentioned in the Talmud that 49 of 50 gates of wisdom were opened to him. Only after the bride has received blessings from the lower six Sefiros, does the influence of Bina come down, for in fact this blessing includes the others. In this blessing 10 different words are used to describe happiness, peace, and friendship. These words are almost synonyms, for all of them lead to joy. These ten words correspond to all ten Sefiros, and also to the ten sayings with which the world was created and to the Ten Commandments given at Mount Sinai. We will try to explain here some of the differences between these ten words.


Sosson and Simcha – two kinds of happiness. The GR”A explains, that Sosson is gladness in the heart when the desired good has already been reached, while Simcha is the delight of aspiration to achieve the good. This joy is noticeable to the outsiders as well (GR”A to Megillas Ester, 8:17).


Gil – This is constant happiness, unlike Simcha – spontaneous joy (GR”A to Mishley 2:14, 23:24, and to Divrei Hayamim, 1:16:31).


Rina – literally – song. This word can have negative connotation (see for example Eichah 2:19, and Ibn Ezra there). We mention during the Mincha prayer on Shabbos "Avraham Yagel (from the word “Gil”), Yitzchak Yeranain (from the word “Rina”). The matter is that Gil it is connected with Chesed, and Rina – with Gevurah. Therefore the word Rina is used also in relation to happiness when evildoers are destroyed (Mishley 11:10).


Ditza – this word is mentioned in Tanach only once, in the book of Iyov 41:14. According to the commentators, this word is used when even frustration turns to fun and dancing.


Chedva – Spiritual pleasure (see the Malbim’s commentary to the book of Nechemia 8:9). Thus, for example, this word is used for the description of pleasure after the construction of the Second Temple (Ezra 6:16).


Ahava and Achva, Shalom and Reus – literally: love and a brotherhood, peace and friendship. These four words are synonyms, and all of them lead to pleasure.


Note that the voices of happiness are mentioned five times in this blessing, corresponding to the five voices heard by our nation at Mount Sinai. We hope to deserve that each Jewish wedding will bring true Torah pleasure, and that the new family will be worthy that the Shechinah will dwell in their midst. 


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