The Divine Weddings of Jerusalem

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In addition to being the primordial home of human beings, Gan Eden was the site of the first wedding. The beauty and serenity of this wedding is succinctly described in the sixth blessing of the set of seven that are recited at a wedding:

Grant abundant joy to these loving friends, as You bestowed gladness upon Your created being in the Garden of Eden of old. Blessed are You Lord, who gladdens the groom and bride.

Rashi explains that God himself was directly involved in the wedding of Adam and Chava and created a joyous atmosphere. He served the role of the shoshavinin (the special friends of the groom and bride) and serves as a model for all people regarding the importance of being joyful for the bride and groom. Other sources indicate that heavenly angels served the role of shoshavinin and led Adam to Chavah. 

One would think that this sort of wedding is incommensurably greater than any subsequent wedding. Adam and Chava were literally a match made in heaven and God himself created the joyful atmosphere. What could compare to this situation?

And yet, the text of the seven blessings seems to point to a comparable level of joy. While the sixth blessing focuses on the wedding of Adam and Chava, the seventh and final blessing yearns for future weddings in a rebuilt Yerushalayim:

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who created joy and happiness, groom and bride, gladness, jubilation, cheer and delight, love, friendship, harmony and fellowship. Lord our God, let there speedily be heard in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Yerushalayim the sound of joy and the sound of happiness, the sound of a groom and the sound of a bride, the 

sound of exultation of grooms from under their chupah, and youths from their joyous banquets. Blessed are You Lord, who gladdens the groom with the bride.

Instead of just wishing our young couple the joy and atmosphere of Adam and Chava, our blessings culminate in the hopefully imminent future. We pray that God should bring joy to this couple and all future couples within the context of the joy of a rebuilt Yerushalayim of the messianic era. 

If we are to assume that the blessings go in an ascending order, it would seem that this future joy of a wedding in Yerushalayim surpasses even the joy of Adam and Chava in Gan Eden. In other words, God’s involvement in weddings of Yerushalayim will exceed His role in the original wedding.

The notion that Yerushalayim of the future will be an even better version of the primordial Gan Eden is a theme of many rabbinic sources. In this context, let us briefly look at a series of verses in Yeshayahu:

For the Lord shall console Zion, He shall console all its ruins, and He shall make its desert like a paradise (ke-Eden) and its wasteland like the garden of the Lord; joy and happiness shall be found therein, thanksgiving and a voice of song.

Once again, the joy and happiness of Yerushalayim is compared to the garden of God. What began in Gan Eden will be completed in Yerushalayim.


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