Sunday, April 1, 2012

why does the bride walk around 7x

Bride Walks Around Seven Times

What is the origin of the custom that a bride walks around her groom seven times during a wedding?
The custom of the bride walking around the groom seven times is from the Kabbalah. See Tikunei Zohar (6, 23a) in regard to the verse “a woman shall go around a man” (Yirmiyahu 31:22) Also see Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan Made In Heaven (pgs. 160 – 161) for different ideas he proposes. Among them are: the re-enactment of the creative process since the earth made seven revolutions during the seven days of creation and the bride and groom are in a sense repeating this creative process; also she is binding him so to speak by this marriage since seven of her relatives become forbiden to him; and she is praying that the seven prophetesses and seven shepherds of Israel protect their marriage and insure its success. Also see the work Korban Ha’ani (Sedras Ki Seitzei) who writes that it sends a message to the groom that until now he had no ‘surrounding aura of light’ and now his bride is bringing this to him in marriage.
In Passionate Judaism Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss writes, “[Rabbi Avrohom Pam] explained that a bride walks around her groom to demonstrate that from that moment on, he has become the center of her universe.” Some find the basis of this custom in the Tikuni Zohar, that these seven rounds represent the “seven firmaments”, showing that their union is made for the sake of He who dwells there.
My personal favorite is that walking around seven times brings down barriers and walls between the couple, and allows them to unite and bond in an intimate manner, just as Joshua and the Children of Israel encircled the city of Jericho seven times and after that the walls of Jericho miraculously sunk and allowed the Jews to conquer the city. Taken a step further, this might also indicate that although anyone can have a physical relationship, to achieve spiritual and emotional bonding a couple must work hard together. G-d’s reward for such effort is the actual achievement of this bonding, which is nothing short of a metaphysical, “miraculous” co-existence.
Take care,
Rabbi Aaron Tendler

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