The Unique Merit and Quality of Married Life

Judaism places enormous and incomparable importance on the Jewish home as a whole and to married life in particular. The Talmud and its commentaries, as well as Midrashim,are replete with wonderful and lofty descriptions that our Sages have written regarding the unique qualities of the Jewish home.

The following are but a few examples:

Regarding the union of groom and bride, the Zohar states:1G‑d serves as the [Heavenly] matchmaker.” That means to say, that G‑d frees Himself, as it were, from His other activities and involves Himself in making matches between groom and bride.

Furthermore, the Gemara states:2 “Forty days prior to a child’s formation, a Heavenly voice emanates and declares, ‘The daughter of so-and-so [shall marry] so-and-so.”

Thus, our Sages unambiguously inform us that G‑d is more actively involved in creating matches than in other aspects of His creation: when it comes to marriage, G‑d decrees and ordains who will be marrying whom. The reason for this is worthy of further elucidation.

“A Man Without a Wife Is Not a Man”

Our Sages express the importance of marriage in the most emphatic terms: “Any man who is without a wife is not a man.”3 Our Sages explain further that prior to the creation of Chava (Eve) — when Adam was still alone — he had yet to be called “Adam,” man. Only when “He created them male and female”; i.e., after Chava was created, did He “call their name Man.”4

This concept also finds expression in the known saying of our Rabbis:5 “One’s wife is as one’s very own body.” Since a married couple are as “one body,” it is self-understood that prior to their marriage, each individual half of the couple is lacking an integral part of him or herself and cannot be termed a “complete person.”

Our Sages are thus teaching us that marriage is not merely an adjunct to an individual’s personality and being; it is much more than that:

As long as a person has yet to marry, his very status as a “complete person” is lacking, regardless of the fact that his intellectual and emotional qualities may well be complete. Only after a person marries does he or she become whole and worthy of the title: a “complete human being.”

Still, the matter is puzzling: Why shouldn’t an unmarried person be called a “complete person,” when his or her personality, character and all other qualities may very well be fully formed and complete?

Song of Songs

In addition to the fundamental bond between husband and wife that leads to their comprehensive and absolute oneness, there is an additional layer to their relationship, an aspect that is a vital component of married life — the love and camaraderie that exist between husband and wife.

Shir HaShirim, the Song of Songs, is filled with descriptions of the love and affection between husband and wife. The commentaries explain6 that all these depictions serve as allegories to the loving relationship between G‑d and the Jewish people.

Thus, the physical love that exists between husband and wife is not a mere physical and corporeal relationship bereft of spiritual content; rather, this loving relationship abounds in spiritual content as well. For this reason, it serves as a fitting analogy to the love that exists between G‑d and the Jewish people.

To further clarify this matter:

The Divine Presence Resides in Their Midst

The very existence of the Jewish home — the hallowed institution in whose framework the couple conducts their married life — possesses an exceptional degree of sanctity. Our Sages7 draw our attention to this with words that leave no room for error: “When husband and wife merit, the Divine Presence resides in their midst.” Implicit in the expression “in their midst” is the notion that the Divine Presence permeates their very lives, bodies and physical abode.

The above statement, as well as those previously mentioned, emphasize the spiritual and sacred dimension of marriage. We must, however, more fully understand what exactly constitutes this sacred dimension.

Yet another noteworthy aspect of the Jewish home is the extraordinary blessing with which the couple is blessed only after their marriage. We thus observe that when G‑d created man, it was only after He created Chava [in addition to] Adam that G‑d blessed them. Hence the verse states:8 “He created them male and female and [then] He blessed them.”

Our Sages similarly express this thought when they declare:9 “He who is without a wife dwells without joy, without blessing, without goodness, without Torah, without protection, and without peace.” Furthermore, it is stated in Mishlei:10 “He who finds a wife, finds goodness.”

From all the above expressions and sayings of our Sages (which are but a select few among many), it is patently obvious that our Sages viewed the institution of marriage as central to Jewish life.

Extraordinary Aspects of Marriage

First and foremost, the unique aspect of married life is underscored and emphasized by the prominence given to a Jewish wedding, the “foundation” of the Jewish home.

Jewish nuptials possess the power to cleanse past sins and atone for prior iniquities. Regarding this, the Gemara explicitly states:11 “All the sins of the groom and bride are forgiven on their wedding day.” So, too:12 “When a man takes a wife, his sins are arrested.” As Rashi explains: “His sins come to a halt,” i.e., his sins are forgiven.

The mitzvah of causing bride and groom to rejoice is exceptionally potent, possessing a power not often found in other mitzvos.

Jewish law states:13 “It is a truly great mitzvah to cause groom and bride to rejoice.” The Gemara relates wondrous tales of our greatest Tannaim and Amoraim, the authors of the Mishnah and Talmud, who would dance before a bride with the greatest of enthusiasm and with all their might: “It was said concerning R. Yehudah... that he would take a myrtle branch and dance before the bride, saying: ‘The bride is beautiful and charming.’ R. Shmuel ... would juggle three myrtle branches before the bride.”14

“Whoever Causes Groom and Bride to Rejoice Merits Torah

The unique merit of causing bride and groom to rejoice at their wedding finds expression in the reward one receives for doing so. Our Sages say:15 “Whoever causes groom and bride to rejoice merits ... Torah ....”

Ostensibly, there is but one way to “merit Torah” — through intensive and assiduous study; doing so with humility and modesty, as stated in Pirkei Avos.16 How can one merit Torah simply by causing bride and groom to rejoice? What is the connection between the mitzvah of dancing at a wedding so that bride and groom rejoice, with acquiring Torah knowledge?17

In halachic terminology, betrothal is termed “kiddushin,” from the Hebrew root, kadosh, sacred. Thus our Sages state:18 “[The act of betrothal] prohibits her to everyone else like hekdesh.” (Just as when an item is consecrated for use in the Beis HaMikdash, [the Holy Temple,] no one else may derive benefit from it — it becomes hekdesh. So, too, when a woman is consecrated to her husband, she is off limits to everyone else.) We thus see that a wedding is compared to the process by which sanctification is achieved, just as an object is sanctified for the Beis HaMikdash!

The conclusion of the betrothal blessings emphasize to an even greater degree the sanctity and sublimity of the marriage canopy and kiddushin (chuppah v’kiddushin). The betrothal blessing concludes: “He Who sanctifies His nation through the marriage canopy and kiddushin.” This is to say, that when G‑d betrothed the Jewish people (when He gave them the Torah), He did so in a manner similar to “the marriage canopy and kiddushin.”

Sheva Berachos: The Seven Blessings

The distinct spiritual aspect of the union and wedding of husband and wife is expressed in a most exalted manner during the Sheva Berachos, the special “Seven Blessings” of bride and groom, recited during the first seven days of their marriage. Several significant themes are mentioned in these blessings, many of which, on the face of it, are seemingly not at all related to a wedding:

“All was created for His honor,” the reason for creation; “Creator of Man,” the creation of Adam, the first man; “He created man in His image,” man was created in the Divine image; “He prepared for him from His own Self,” man’s spiritual service; “He sanctifies His nation, Israel,” our bond with G‑d; “Cities of Judah and environs of Jerusalem,” the rebuilding of Jerusalem; “Speedily may it be heard...,” salvation and redemption, the Days of Mashiach, with redemption for both the individual as well as the Jewish people as a whole.

This matter requires clarification: How do such fundamental and collective matters as creation as a whole, the creation of man, the rebuilding of Jerusalem, and even so lofty an event as the imminent Redemption relate to the wedding of husband and wife — seemingly an entirely personal event?

However, in Judaism a wedding is not simply a “personal matter.” That is to say, marriage is not merely a natural and efficacious cooperative relationship between man and woman whose purpose is to ease their mutual burdens and make their lives more comfortable. Were this to be so, then marriage would simply be an act of convenience, in keeping with the saying of our Sages:19 “The man brings wheat into the home; the wife grinds and bakes it.” In truth, marriage is so much more than this.

From all the sources cited above, it is eminently clear that the marriage of husband and wife is so profound an act, that G‑d Himself is intimately involved in bringing about the marriage of husband and wife!

We must now explain what is this most sacred and holy element that is intrinsic to the seemingly ordinary and commonplace event of marriage.

Marriage for a Purpose — Having Children

It is commonly understood that having children — the natural result of marriage — is what makes marriage unique when compared to other physical phenomena.

The continued existence of the world and mankind is dependent on the continual birth of children. Were people not to marry, children would not be born and the world would be empty and desolate. This is why the Torah and our Sages so greatly encourage the “institution of marriage” and continually emphasize its importance — so that people fulfill the commandment to “be fruitful and multiply” and for the world to continue to exist.

Accordingly, we also understand why the very first command that G‑d commanded man was specifically to “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth...,” for existence as a whole is based on the fulfillment of this command, a command that enables the world to be filled with its inhabitants.

It would appear, not only from Scripture, but from the Talmud and its commentaries as well, that the ultimate purpose of marriage is the commandment to “be fruitful and multiply”:

The Gemara states: 20 “R. Chiya said, ‘A wife is entirely for [bearing] children.’” The Gemara also states:21 “R. Yosi said, ‘I have always referred to my wife as “my home,”‘” since the purpose and intent of the marriage of husband and wife is to establish a “home,” i.e., to have sons and daughters.

The commentaries ask:22 Why don’t we make a blessing on the mitzvah of marriage ([i.e.,] why don’t we say, “Blessed are You G‑d ... Who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to marry”)? Generally speaking, whenever we perform a mitzvah, we precede its performance with a blessing. Why is the mitzvah of marriage different from all others?

They answer the following: As explained previously, the purpose of marriage is not the act of marriage itself, but the children that will ensue as a consequence of the marriage. It is thus impossible to recite the blessing for marriage at the moment of marriage, as children — the intent of marriage — are yet to be born.23

Marriage Itself Is a Mitzvah: Not Only in Order to Bear Children

Upon deeper reflection, however, one must conclude that having children is not, in fact, the sole purpose of marriage. For in other Scriptural sources, no mention is made of marriage being for the purpose of “being fruitful and multiplying.” For example, the verse, “He shall cleave to his wife and they shall become one flesh,”24 makes no mention of “cleaving” for the purpose of having children.

Indeed, in his Sefer HaMitzvos, where he enumerates the various commandments, the Rambam counts marriage and having children as separate commandments: Mitzvah 213 is to “marry a woman, so that she will become his wife,” and Mitzvah 212 is to “have children.” In other words, there is an intrinsic spiritual potency and force to marriage itself, in addition to it being the means to the end of having children and inhabiting the world.

In light of the above, it is even more urgent and imperative to explain the intrinsic spiritual potency and force of marriage.

There is an additional difficulty: On the face of it, remaining single possesses distinct advantages. Single individuals do not bear the yoke and burden of having to provide for a family, nor do they need to assume the obligation of raising and educating their children. Consequently, they are entirely free to dedicate themselves exclusively to Torah study; studying Torah assiduously and in great depth. The same holds true with regard to their ability to perform mitzvos.

On the other hand, when someone marries, he loses his unrestricted and untrammeled freedom. Married life consumes much of a person’s time, for he must work in order to sustain his wife and children. He is thus not free to devote himself to the performance of Torah and mitzvos to the same extent as he could previously. Our Sages express it thusly:25 “Can a person truly occupy himself in Torah study when he has the yoke [of earning a livelihood and providing for his family] around his neck?”

Nevertheless, Judaism asserts that the positive qualities and the importance and mitzvah of marriage are so great that it is incumbent upon a Jew to marry, in spite of the limitations that marriage foists upon the person!

Husband and Wife Possess One Soul

Kabbalah and Chassidus explain the significance of marriage on a deeper and more profound level:

The Zohar states:26 “R. Shimon said: ‘The union of male and female is termed “one.” … For a male without a female is called “half a body,” and a half is not “one.” When the two halves unite, they then become one body, and they are then called “one.”‘”

In other words, according to the Zohar, husband and wife are in essence one soul, half of which is clothed in the husband’s body, while the other half is clothed in the wife’s body. Alone, husband or wife merely consists of half a soul. Only “when the two halves — the husband and wife — unite” do they possess one whole and complete soul.27

G‑d desired that for a lengthy period of time, from the moment of birth till the time of marriage, the two “soul-halves” be apart and distant from each other, finding themselves in different homes, and at times, even different environments and in different countries. Only when the proper moment arrives will the male and female find each other and marry, at which time the two soul-halves will merge and unite.

This, then, is the inner dimension of married life: the unification of husband and wife through the unification of their respective soul-halves and their merging into one singular entity.28

Two Dimensions in the Couple’s Relationship

Consequently, we find that in marriage — in the relationship between husband and wife — there are two distinct strata:

One layer — the obvious and familiar relationship that exists between all couples — is the physical and corporeal layer: partnering in the management of their material lives; living under the same roof; intimate relations, and the like.

The second layer — the more intrinsic and internal connection — is that of their spiritual soul connection, whereby the couple’s soul-halves unite and meld into one dynamic spiritual entity; becoming one soul.

The Quality and Manner of the Soul Connection

The disparity between these two forms of connection is not merely a difference in setting and locale, i.e., one existing on a physical plane and the other existing on a spiritual plane. Rather, they differ mainly in the quality and manner of their respective form of connection; that is, the spiritual connection of the couple is entirely different from their physical connection.

With regard to the physical connection: Even when husband and wife dwell in complete harmony, living together in “love, harmony, peace and camaraderie,” they still remain two wholly distinct and separate entities. After all, they are two dissimilar and discrete individuals, each of them possessing a fully unique and distinct complement of intellect, feelings, and the like. It is merely that these two wholly independent and separate individuals form an intense bond and a deep degree of intimacy.

Becoming One

The soul plane connection, however, serves to reveal the intrinsic bond and attachment between husband and wife — their being literally one soul. As such, they are not two distinct entities who form a partnership. Rather, they truly form a single and solitary being, or in the words of the Zohar, “They become one.”

In other words, the novelty of the Zohar’s statement that husband and wife are one soul is not merely adding another layer or dimension to their relationship, enabling them to form an even deeper connection than if their connection would exist only on the physical plane. Rather, on a qualitative level, the [spiritual] plane and level of connection of husband and wife is entirely different and distinct from their physical connection — it is of an entirely different magnitude and order, more genuine and ever so much loftier, as husband and wife [on that plane] become truly one — one soul.

The bond that forms between two entities can be formed in one of two ways:

a) Even after the two parts connect, one can still tell that they were originally two distinct parts; although once connected they cannot be torn asunder due to the great strength of their bond, it is still discernible that two distinct entities bonded and melded. When this is the case, then, in point of fact, even after they bond they continue to be two separate entities, regardless of the magnitude of their connection.

Impossible to Tell That They Were Once Divided

b) The second manner of bonding is when the two parts form a truly seamless and complete bond, for they truly become one. It is now impossible to tell that they were originally two, as they are now indeed one.

These two forms of connection and unity are the two components in the union of husband and wife:

From the perspective of the physical dimension of their union, even a couple who dwells together in “love, harmony, peace and camaraderie,” still remains two separate and distinct bodies and entities. It is only that their bond and union is so powerful that they willingly forego their own personal needs for the sake of their partner; their partner’s desires are so important to them that they willingly surrender and sacrifice their own desires for their spouse. All the same, they remain two bodies and not one.

However, from the perspective of the spiritual and soul dimension of their union, their bond is intrinsic and essential — husband and wife comprise one genuine existent entity — they are truly one soul. As the Zohar states: “They become one ... and are then called ‘one.’”

Shalom Bayis — Tranquility in the Home

The awareness and appreciation of the inner dimension and the true essence of marriage — the reunification of one’s once divided soul — is the surest means to achieve a married state of true tranquility and joy, living together in authentic “love, harmony, peace and camaraderie.”

When a marriage is only a marriage of the body, and the benefit derived by the married couple from their marriage is only physical (living a comfortable life, mutually coordinating their material needs, intimate relations, and the like), an individual may possibly feel sated and not experience a further yearning to fulfill his physical needs and desires. This can thus lead to a deterioration of the relationship. Alternately, one of the spouses may begin to think that it is entirely possible, and perhaps even better, to live one’s life differently — independent and free of the responsibilities of marriage.

In contrast, a marriage of the soul will, from the very outset, follow an inner and spiritual path of solidity, truth and depth, wherein each of the marriage partners is fully aware that his or her spouse is truly “part” of them, completing their very essence. [They will feel that] without their marriage partner, they are lacking “a part of themselves” — for alone, husband and wife possess but one half of their very self, with the other half found only within one’s spouse.

This being the case, it is impossible to even contemplate a different type of life — a life “free” of one’s life partner — for to the same degree that a person cannot possibly forego part of one’s own body and decide to live without it; so too is it impossible for husband and wife to live life separate and apart from each other.

This, then, is the gateway from which the couple gathers strength to achieve a truly harmonious and tranquil family life in all its spiritual depth and profundity. For when a marriage is based on the inner perspective of the soul, the “dual-partnered” home becomes one single and individual home, in which there dwells but one entity — one soul.

Herein lies the sublime and magnificent spiritual and sacred aspect of marriage — the unification of a soul:

G‑d’s creation — man — is complete only after the bodies of male and female cleave to each other and the fractured soul is reunited.29

Once the soul becomes whole, man’s service of fulfilling G‑d’s will is far superior qualitatively, as this service is being accomplished by a complete and whole soul.

As a consequence of all the above, marriage plays an extremely vital and central role in the Torah and in the writings of the Sages.

Why the Sages So Extol and Acclaim Marriage

In light of the above, we can understand full well the following Midrashim of our Sages:

a) The words of the Zohar regarding the connection between groom and bride, that “G‑d serves as their matchmaker” even prior to their creation.

In order for husband and wife to be able to establish a solid and enduring home, an “eternal edifice,” G‑d saw to it that their connection be based not merely on their physical decision to get married and their physical desire for each other. Rather, He took a single soul and divided it in half, placing one half within the male and the other half within the female. When, through their wedding, the two halves reunite and become one soul, their life together becomes wholly complete, for they are truly one spiritual entity.

“One’s Wife Is as One’s Very Own Body”

b) Commenting on the vital importance of marriage, our Sages state: “Any man who is without a wife is not a man.”

Among the names that human beings possess (adam, ish, gever and enosh), our Sages explain30 that the name adam denotes perfection and completion. Thus, before a person marries, when each half of the soul is isolated from its other half, male and female are imperfect and incomplete and they are not termed adam. Only after marriage, when the two halves of the soul unite and become perfect and complete, is the person called adam.

c) The love and affection that husband and wife have for each other possess a spiritual component, as is to be seen from the numerous sayings of our Sages:

For the mutual love and affection of husband and wife is not merely a corporeal manifestation of love that emanates from their physicality, but is also a love of the Divine soul, half of which is found in each spouse. This is why the love of husband and wife serves as an analogy to the spiritual love between G‑d and the Jewish people — both the love between husband and wife as well as the love between G‑d and the Jewish people is of a spiritual quality — whether that of the soul desiring to cleave to its Creator, or of each part of the soul desiring to become whole and complete by cleaving to its other half.

“When They Merit, the Divine Presence Resides in Their Midst”

d) With regard to the sanctity of the Jewish home, our Sages state: “When husband and wife merit, [in Hebrew, zachu,] the Divine Presence resides in their midst” — for “in their midst”; i.e., in the midst of their shared life, resides the Divine Presence, i.e., the unification of the Divine soul.

In the spirit of the above we can explain the term “merit,” zachu — “When husband and wife zachu, the Divine Presence resides in their midst”:

The term zachu derives from the word zichuch, or refinement. When the couple refines their physical and corporeal body; i.e., when they are aware that their partnership is not merely physical but also spiritual, then it is revealed to them that the “Divine Presence” — the spiritual light of the soul — resides in their midst.

e) Their marriage elicits the unique blessing that they receive from G‑d — “And G‑d blessed them”:

As long as male and female are alone, their soul is incomplete and cannot serve G‑d in a complete and perfect manner. Only after they are married — when the soul becomes complete — can they serve G‑d in a complete and perfect manner, truly fulfilling His will (as will be explained in Volume II, in the section entitled “Mitzvos”). In the merit of their complete manner of spiritual service, they now merit a multitude of Divine blessings, [as the verse states,] “He blessed them.”

“All Their Sins Are Forgiven”

f) One of the unique aspects of a wedding is that “all their sins are forgiven.”31

In books of Jewish philosophy and mysticism32 it is explained that all Jews are composed of two distinct components:

There is the Jew’s physical and corporeal component — the body; then there is his spiritual component — the Divine soul, a “part of G‑d above.” These two components [of body and soul] are engaged in a constant struggle. The soul pulls the person in the direction of obeying G‑d’s will — performing Torah and mitzvos — while the body draws the person to physical delights and pleasures.

When a person commits a sin by transgressing the Divine will, he does it strictly as a response to a physical and bodily desire. The soul, on the other hand, opposes sinning against G‑d with every fiber of its being; even while the person sins, the soul remains faithful to G‑d.

Accordingly, the Alter Rebbe states in Tanya:33

“‘No man commits any transgression [unless a spirit of folly has entered him]’34 ... which covers and conceals ... the Divine soul. ... The Divine soul always believes in the One G‑d and remains faithful to Him even while the sin is being commited. ... at that time, [the Divine soul] was in a veritable state of exile in the animal soul ... which causes the body to sin.”

[“Repentance” means that the soul vanquishes the body; i.e., the soul succeeds in “coercing” the body, or even convincing it, that it, too, should desire a spiritual connection with G‑d. When the soul accomplishes this, the person then repents and regrets his previous misdeeds and begins to scrupulously obey G‑d’s will.]

Consequently, we can understand why bride and groom have all their sins forgiven on the day of their marriage:

As stated above, the essential component of marriage is the unity of husband and wife through the unification of their one soul. Since a wedding is a soulful spiritual act, “all their sins are forgiven,” for their “sins,” i.e., their separation from G‑d and their sinning against G‑d, resulted from their desire to experience bodily desires and delights. These fall away and are utterly nullified in the face of marriage, a truly potent spiritual soul act. All that now remain are the positive aspects of the soul.35

“It Is a Great Mitzvah to Cause Groom and Bride to Rejoice”

g) The mitzvah of joy at a wedding: “It is a great mitzvah to cause groom and bride to rejoice”:36

For many long years the soul was split, half of it within the male and the other half within the female. Each part was missing something essential and vital. After many years of separation, with the assistance of G‑d “Who sits and arranges marriages,” the soul unites. This leads to a tremendous and incomparable degree of joy — the rift in the soul has been healed!

However, in keeping with the above, the following question arises: Why is the joy expressed at a wedding so physical in nature — performed through singing and dancing, and the like? After all, isn’t the joy of a wedding the joy of the soul’s spiritual unification?

The answer is, that G‑d created the world in a manner in which there would not be a division between the physical and the spiritual plane, but that both planes be coupled and connected. As such, the spiritual soul was designed to be vested within the physical body. So, too, the spiritual aspect of a wedding — the unification of the soul — is to be accomplished through “betrothal,” a physical act in which the groom places a physical ring on the finger of his bride (as explained below in the section, “Introduction to the Wedding”).

Thus, mere spiritual rejoicing at a wedding does not suffice. The joy must also express itself on the physical and earthly plane — with the physical body involved in actual singing and dancing.

“Whoever Causes Groom and Bride to Rejoice Merits Torah”

h) The connection between a wedding and Torah, which our Sages express with the statement “Whoever causes groom and bride to rejoice merits Torah,” is the following:

Both marriage and Torah emphasize that the physical plane and the world of spirit are interconnected. To state it slightly differently: Both a wedding and Torah emphasize and demonstrate that G‑dliness and spirituality are not limited to the higher spiritual realms and spheres, but descend and are vested within this physical world as well.

With regard to a wedding: The spiritual connection and unification of both halves of the soul within the bride and groom is accomplished through the physical act of placing the ring on the bride’s finger and the physical ceremony of marriage, as mentioned above. (The converse is true as well: the physical love and affection between husband and wife is nurtured by the closeness and intimacy of the unity of the two halves of the soul that intimately unite and meld. [See at length in the section “Shalom Bayis” in Volume II.])

With regard to Torah: On one hand, Torah is the apex of spiritual heights, as Torah is “G‑d’s Divine will and wisdom.”37 On the other hand, the wisdom of Torah descends and reaches the physical world and is capable of being grasped and comprehended by man’s physical intellect, [as said in the blessing on the Torah]: “G‑d granted us His Torah.”38

Moreover, Torah teaches man how to conduct himself within, and how to occupy himself with, the physical and corporeal matters of this world, as our Sages state:39 “Great is Torah study as it leads to action.” This means that the study of Torah becomes truly “great” when it leads to the actual performance of a mitzvah, for mitzvos are mainly performed with physical objects, such as tzitzis with wool, Sefer Torah and tefillin with physical parchment, and so on, thereby elevating the physical world.

Thus, both a wedding and Torah effect a fusion and an elevation of the physical to the spiritual.40

i) Betrothal is termed kiddushin, from the Hebrew root, kadosh, sacred:

The physical betrothal of husband and wife conceals the spiritual, lofty and sacred unification of the soul of husband and wife within its physicality.

j) As to why during the betrothal blessing we make mention of G‑d betrothing the Jewish people — “He sanctifies His nation, Israel, through chuppah and kiddushin” — see the section “Eirusin-Betrothal.”

k) The “Seven Blessings” (Sheva Berachos) is replete with themes that deal with the very essence of creation and its structure; with man’s spiritual service, and with the Messianic era:

The reason for this is that the purpose of creation is to unite the soul and the body, for by doing so we hasten the true and complete Redemption. For a more detailed analysis of the “Seven Blessings,” see below in the chapters that explain each of the “Seven Blessings.”