Jewish Wedding Rings: Traditions and Customs
In a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony, Jewish wedding rings play a very important role. In Jewish law, a verbal declaration is not enough to be married.
According to Jewish law, a formal, physical consecration must be made. Usually this is done with the giving of a Jewish wedding ring, however in ancient times, it was merely something of value--with the minimum value of what is now a penny. Don't worry--I know you won't be that cheap!
The ring must be of solid uninterrupted gold with no holes breaking the circle. The continuity of the rings represents the hope for an everlasting marriage.
Requirements for Jewish Wedding Rings
The ring must be the bridegroom's property at the time of the Jewish wedding ceremony. While only one Jewish wedding ring is required by Jewish law, (given to the bride), many couples exchange rings.
Orthodox Rabbis refuse to perform a double ring ceremony, because they feel it invalidates the idea of the groom acquiring the bride as a wife in exchange of something valuable.
A Reform or Conservative denominational Rabbi may incorporate a ring exchange between bride and groom with little problem usually.
What Hebrew Wedding Rings are Made of
Most Jewish wedding rings are made of simple solid gold bands, although recently embellishment with Hebrew letters on the band has become quite popular.
Many rings can even now be fully customized with many different Hebrew phrases, or even the couple's names either inscribed or raised inside the band.
How To Buy a Jewish Wedding Ring
Buying a Jewish Wedding Ring can often be a confusing and frustrating adventure. There are so many Jewish jewelry stores, and with the advent of the Internet, there are even more than ever before.
However, the Internet has proven to be a big advantage for buyers. Low overhead and large online demand have driven prices for expensive Jewish Wedding Rings that used to go for $800-1000 down into the $320-600 range, depending on 14k or 18 gold, ring size, etc.
Look for merchants with these types of price ranges. Anything cheaper will be a ring of inferior quality. Anything higher is the seller making huge profits off of potential buyers.
Another advantage of the online retailers is customization and options. Some Jewish wedding ring retailers can completely customize any engraving, either with Hebrew phrases or the bride and groom's names. Look for websites who include customization in the price, rather than upsell the customization.
A Jewish Wedding Ring Goes on Which Finger?
The ring ceremony consists of the groom placing the ring on the bride's right index finger. Afterwards, most women move it to the customary "ring finger" of the left hand.
The reason for this Jewish wedding tradition goes back to the time of the Talmud and the differences in beliefs at that time about which finger is closer or more direct to the heart! Christianity taught the ring finger; Judaism taught the index finger.
When the Jewish Wedding Ring is Given
In most ceremonies, the bridegroom repeats a Hebrew vow after the Rabbi, with the giving of the ring. The bridegroom would declare, "Behold, thou art consecrated to me with this ring, according to the law of Moses and Israel."
In Hebrew, this phrase is Hare at mekudeshet li betaba' at zo k'dat Moshe v' Yisrael.
With a little practice, you can easily learn to roll this phrase off of your tongue in no time at all. If you can't speak Hebrew, don't worry! On our website, we have a page where you can hear this phrase being said, right through your computer.
This statement means that husband and wife are holy to each other. It is as if they were saying, "As Shabbat is to Jewish time and as Jerusalem is to Jewish space, you will be to me."
With this buyer's guide to Jewish Wedding rings and their traditions, you can be confident of making a good choice in choosing your rings for your special wedding day.