Rabbi Lev Herrnson
What are the Sheva Berachot?
Updated: Sep 14, 2019
The Sheva Berachot or “Seven Blessings” constitutes one of the more substantial parts of the Jewish wedding ceremony. Recited near the end of the ceremony under the chuppah (and for very traditional families, a second time at the very end of the wedding reception), the blessings are an affirmation of love, friendship, community and a number of other important wishes for the marrying couple. Excerpted from the Babylonian Talmud (Ketubot 8a), the Sheva Berachot are Judaism’s most ancient means of sanctifying a marriage. The content presented by the various blessings moves from the universal to the specific (with joyous personal and communal overtones increasing from first to last). Most significantly, in Judaism the number seven connotes creation, signifying completion and perfection. Recitation of the Sheva Berachot links the marrying couple to our Jewish tradition, to the story of creation in the Torah (and specifically to Adam and Eve in paradise), and to all Jewish families.
Under the chuppah, your officiant will chant the blessings, translating each in turn, and will, after the last blessing, offer you each a sip of wine from one of your two heirloom kiddush cups. (For more information about this, see my blog entry “Family Heirlooms Make Meaning at Your Jewish Wedding” from September 2, 2015.) For an even more personal touch, some couples will ask their officiant administer a process whereby individuals (family members and friends) recite the blessings in Hebrew and/or English. The blessings, in translation, are as follows:
Praised are You, God, who brings forth fruit from the vine.
Praised are You, God, who shapes the universe. All things created speak of Your glory.
Praised are You, Holy One, who fashions each person.
We praise You, God, for forming each person in Your image. You have planted within us a vision of You and given us the means that we may flourish through time. Praised are You, creator of humanity.
May Israel, once bereft of her children, now delight as they gather together in joy. Praised are You, God, who lets Zion rejoice with her children.
Let these loving friends taste the bliss You gave to the first man and woman in the Garden of Eden in the days of old. Praised are You, the Presence who dwells with bride and groom in delight.
Praised are You, who lights the world with happiness, contentment, love and companionship, peace and friendship, bridegroom and bride. Let the mountains of Israel dance! Let the gates of Jerusalem ring with the sounds of joy, song, merriment, and delight—the voice of the groom and the voice of the bride, the happy shouts of their friends and companions. We praise You, God, who brings bride and groom together to rejoice in each other.