A chuppah literally, "canopy" or "covering"), also chuppah, chipe, chuppah, or chuppa, is a canopy under which a Jewish couple stands during their jewish wedding ceremony. It consists of a cloth or sheet, sometimes a tallit, stretched or supported over four poles, or sometimes manually held up by attendants to the ceremony. A chuppah symbolizes the home that the couple will build together.
I often get brides and grooms coming to me and asking how four poles and a covering have anything to do with the home that they are going to build together as husband and wife? What I share with them is that just like when you stand under the Chuppah you have the most important people right there with you, and you also have the people who mean so much in the world to you able to see and be part of your magnificent wedding ceremony. The home that you make and build together should always be one that is warm, welcoming and full of love, respect, laughter and even great food!
I’ve had thoughts of owning my own Chuppah that I can bring to the weddings I officiate at, but my vehicle is a four door sedan so there’s no way for large pools to fit in my car. But fortunately, if you Google Chuppah rental, you will definitely see an option.
You might be asking yourselves why do I need to spend money on flowers to decorate a Chuppah? The truth is you don’t but there is a principle in Judaism called hiddur Mitzvah which is the principle of enhancing a mitzvah through aesthetics. We are guided and commanded to do certain things in our faith, and they can be enhanced through beauty. Sure, you could just have four poles and a covering but given that the Chuppah is the future home you can also make it a beautiful looking home. While of course staying within your budget. We see this principle of beautifying other Mitzvot as well. For example, the Holy Ark and the Aron Hakodesh. In a synagogue, inside an Ark you will see one or more Torah scrolls which really only need to be respectfully covered. But instead they also have beautiful crowns and brass plates which are reminiscent of the ornaments worn by the high priests when the Temple still stood in Jerusalem. The idea is that we are commanded to read from the Holy Torah, but we can also do so in a way that brings honor and beauty to the Torah by enhancing the aesthetics of how the Torah looks or is dressed / decorated.
If you have attended a Jewish wedding, you will know that there’s something so special and beautiful about being in the audience and being able to clearly see the bride and groom standing there when the Cantor or Rabbi is marrying them - you really do feel like you’re part of this memorable and special occasion.
What are some other examples of beautifying mitzvot / commandments? I’d love to hear from you.