WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE
Sitting at a nice restaurant, enjoying the company of family and friends, when the waiter accidentally drops a glass off of their serving tray.
They makes a valiant effort to try to catch it, but to no avail.
SHATTER goes the glass.
MAZAL TOV! Cheers the patrons.
It’s a common scene, but few people stop to think about its significance. Why are the restaurant patrons excited about this broken glass? Why are they all enthusiastically shouting mazal tov?
This “custom” comes from the modern day chuppah/ marriage ceremony, where immediately after the bride and groom are officially wed, the groom smashes a glass cup with his foot, to commemorate the destruction of the Bais Hamikdash, the holy temple.
While we acknowledge that the wedding day is still going to be one of the happiest days of this young couples’ lives, it is specifically during this joyous time that we make sure to take a moment to commemorate our losses as a nation, before continuing with the wedding festivities.
It’s almost routine at modern weddings to hear the groom smash the glass, and have it immediately be followed by the crowd yelling out “mazal tov!” to celebrate the freshly minted couple.
When the waiter drops a glass, this shattering sound is reminiscent to the end of the wedding, when the groom smashes that cup, and therefore the customers all joyfully shout mazal tov.
This silly and admittedly flippant attitude is a testament to the lack of solemnity that we treat the broken glass under the chuppah, which is supposed to represent the temple’s destruction.
While this lack of solemnity is a problem, there is a diagnosable reason for it, and luckily, a simple solution.
The reason for the lack of sincere pain under the chuppah is simple- the glass that is broken is meaningless to the groom, the bride, and all of the guests.
At the last minute, the caterer grabs an extra glass which nobody cares about, so while smashing the glass is supposed to remind us of our losses, it intrinsically has no value, and therefore does a poor job of invoking this proper sense of loss.
That’s why we created The Becher.
The Becher is given as a unique gift for a new Bar Mitzvah, who is newly responsible and obligated to fulfill all of the mitzvot (commandments).
This new Bar Mitzvah will say kiddush every shabbos and every yom tov, and he will use this special glass becher.
He will say thousands of kiddush’s over the years, and every time this new Bar Mitzvah says kiddush he is becoming holier to Hashem, and more intertwined with the Jewish people.
He will develop his connection to Judaism and to Israel through his weekly kiddush, and will look forward to using his new becher to fulfill this mitzvah.
Many years later, after saying kiddush thousands of times, this new Bar Mitzvah will walk up to the chuppah on his wedding day. The glass that will give this man the greatest sense of loss is this specific glass becher that he received as a boy, because he has invested himself into it through every kiddush that he’s made. The feeling of loss under the chuppah will therefore be genuine and sincere.
We acknowledge that while the loss will feel sincere, it is only for a brief moment, as he begins the next chapter of his life, and his crucial role in the continuation of the Jewish people.