Found In: Sanctifying Intimate Relationships, Weddings & Commitment Ceremonies, Friday Evening, Saturday
When we make kiddush on Shabbat we say the blessing over water. When it came to the kiddush on our wedding day under the chuppah, we decided to do it the same way. We chose water instead of wine or grape juice for the following reasons:
1. We both are very grateful for fresh, clean water in our lives and realize that this is truly a gift. With fresh water sources being increasingly threatened on our planet we thought it is essential to include water as a central element in our rituals.
2. Neither of us drink alcohol and neither of us have a particularly strong spiritual relationship with grape juice.
3. We feel that water as a substance has the ability to really take on the blessings said over it and in its presence. So blessing it before drinking it is a great way to sanctify an occasion.
The kiddush at our wedding went like this:
1. We had gathered water from various sources that we considered sacred. These included water present at a pre-wedding women's wisdom circle and water in crystal bowls used for sound therapy.
2. At the time for the kiddush at the wedding, we poured the water into two seperate cups. Each of these were kiddush cups we had used in our single lives before we had met.
3. We poured the water from the two cups into one cup which had been made specially for the wedding. This new cup was to be our new home's kiddush cup.
4. Our Rabbi recounted a Hindu teaching that a place where two sources of water meet is a holy place.
5. We said the following prayer (traditionally said over water):
Baruch ata adonai eloheinu melech ha-olam shehakol nihye bidvaro
Blessed are You, Adonai, our God, Sovereign of the universe through whose word everything comes into being.
6. We each drank from the cup.
For a more detailed discussion of the motivations behind this ritual, see our article in the Jew and the Carrot here:
This is a relatively simple ritual. When we do it in our home on Shabbat we sometimes speak a variety of blessings, intentions, and kind words before we drink. Sometimes we sing songs too. The goal of course, as with any kiddush, is to bring added holiness to the occasion. It certainly worked well at our wedding!