Jewish Tradition and The Bride

Aug 02, 2010 2 Comments by

By Ron Ross, 2nd August, 2010

Rabbi James Ponet and Rev. William Shillady co-officiated at the much-publicized wedding of Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky.

Chelsea is the only child of former President Bill Clinton and Hilary, the present US Secretary of State.

Marc, who is a banker, comes from a political environment too. His dad Edward, served as congressman for the first district in Iowa from 1973 to 1979. He also served a prison term after being convicted of fraud for ‘allegedly’ scamming over $10 million. Edward was sentenced to serve a seven years term.

Marc’s mother Marjorie Margolies Mezvinsky was an NBC reporter and she also served as a congresswoman. Edward and Marjorie are divorced.

Jewish Tradition

The Clinton clout guaranteed a controlled media outcome for the lavish celebrations but now some of the colourful background has been revealed.

Jewish traditions were to the fore. Marc and Chelsea were wed under a chuppah (canopy). He wore a skullcap and prayer shawl. The seven blessings, key to a Jewish wedding were recited by family and friends.

Having enjoyed Jewish weddings in Jerusalem, these details, I find fascinating. The most distinctive symbol of the Jewish celebration is the chuppah. explains: “A chuppah is a Jewish wedding canopy. It is the traditional embroidered cloth canopy held aloft by four poles that is used in Jewish weddings. A chuppah symbolizes the home to be built and shared by the newlywed couple. It is also symbolic of a new husband bringing his wife into his home. By entering a chuppah, a woman declares her independence from her family.”

The chuppah (also spelled khuppa. Huppah, chuppa etc) is often translated ‘chamber.’ (See Joel 2:16; Psalm 19: 5)

Jesus drew directly from Jewish wedding tradition. Notice in the definition the chuppah ‘symbolizes the home to be built and shared by the newely-weds’. It also speaks of the groom ‘bringing his wife into his home.’


The marriage offers a new home, a new life and even a new identity for the bride.

Within Jewish marriage custom there is an extended betrothal period. Initially the couple makes a commitment to wed and then the groom departs to prepare his home for the triumphal, exciting welcome he plans for the bride.

Jesus came and offered betrothal to His bride. He then said He was leaving ‘to prepare a place.’ (John 14: 1-3) “I will come again and receive you to myself,” He promised.

Marc Mezvinsky wore the prayer shawl during the ceremony. The chuppah is described as a large prayer shawl covering the holy significance of the moment.

John 14 continues the Jewish wedding theme

John 14:1-2 “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.

These are words spoken by the groom, making His betrothal promise to His bride.

He is already totally committed to the relationship. “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14:14)

Most of my readers will already have preconceived ideas about the Clintons, the groom, Chelsea and the wedding. The budget has been discussed, debated and I am sure opinions formed.

But consider the joy of the occasion for the youngsters in the centre of it all. Imagine being Chelsea, preparing for the day of days. We should all have that thrill and that expectation.

“I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God;
For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, And as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up, So the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations. (Isaiah 61:10,11)

Wow! This is some event, and the promise from the Lord is that He will return for His bride.

1Thess. 4:16 “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.”

How thrilling this is? I am thankful Marc and Chelsea chose to include the chuppah, the prayer shawl and the Jewish wedding traditions in their day of days. It reminds me to focus on the coming of the Groom of grooms.

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” (Rev 19: 7)

Ron's Rave

About the author

Ron Ross worked as the first Sports Editor at WINTV. In Wollongong. He ran The Hamburger Hut an outreach and discipleship program for youth. He served with Youth With a Mission in Hawaii, Philippines and Australia. He was senior pastor of the Noosa Baptist Church, Queensland for 9 years. He reported news from Jerusalem for five years and is now the Middle East correspondent for United Christian Broadcasters and travels regularly preaching and teaching.

2 Responses to “Jewish Tradition and The Bride”

  1. mode20100 says:

    A+ would read again

  2. Ron Ross says:

    Thanks for visiting


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