Why does the Bride circle the Groom seven times? The Seven Circles.

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One of the most intriguing parts of a Jewish Wedding Ceremony is when the Bride circles the Groom under the Chuppah, when they first enter the Chuppah.

Usually they circle the groom seven times, sometimes it is three times.

When reading up on the reasons for this custom at a Jewish Wedding Ceremony there are multiple explanations, which can often be the case and the reasons evolved over years of tradition:

  • Circling “seven times” corresponds with the seven wedding blessings and demonstrates that the groom is the centre of the Brides’ life. (This also symbolises her protective care of her husband).
  • The seven circles recall the seven times Joshua had to walk around the ancient city of Jericho before the walls fell and the Israelites were able to capture it. So, too, after the bride walks around the groom seven times, the walls between them will fall and their souls will be united.
  • The number seven also has spitirual power significance in the Jewish religion.
  • They represent a seven-fold bond which marriage will establish between the bride and groom and their families.
  • This act also recalls the seven times that the Tefillin straps are wrapped around a man’s arm. Just as a man binds himself in love to G-d, so is his bond in love to his bride.
  • The number seven represents the completion of the seven day process in which earth was created. During these seven days, the earth revolved on its axis seven times. Since marriage reenacts the creative process, the Kallah’s encirclement symbolises the repetition of these seven earthly rotations.

Some are bothered by the unevenness of this custom and have either made it egalitarian (each circles the other) or eliminated it altogether. During the marriage ceremony, all barriers between the bride and groom are broken down. Sometimes, the mothers of the bride and groom also partake in this ritual to represent the closeness of the families.

Some brides will only circle three times.

After the circling has been completed, the service begins with two blessings over wine. Both the bride and groom drink from the glass of wine.

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