On __________ (day of week) the ______ day of_________ (month), 57__, according to Jewish reckoning ( ________month______ day______ year, according to secular reckoning), in the city of_____________ (state or region),______________(country),____________ (Hebrew name) daughter/son of_______________ and ________________ whose surname is _____________ and ________________(Hebrew name) daughter/son of _____________ and ________________ whose surname is _____________confirm in the presence of witnesses a lovers' covenant between them and declare a partnership to establish a household among the people of Israel.
The agreement into which_______________ and _______________ are entering is a holy covenant like the ancient covenants of our people, made in faithfulness and peace to stand forever. It is a covenant of protection and hope like the covenant God swore to Noah and his descendants, saying
When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures, all flesh that is on earth. That," God said to Noah, "shall be the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh" (Gen. 9:16–17).
It is a covenant of distinction, like the covenant God made with Israel, saying
You shall be My people, and I shall be your God (Jer. 30:22).
It is a covenant of devotion, joining hearts like the covenant David and Jonathan made, as it is said,
And Jonathan's soul was bound up with the soul of David. Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself (1 Sam. 18:1-3).
It is a covenant of mutual lovingkindness like the wedding covenant between God and Zion, as it is said,
I will espouse you forever. I will espouse you with righteousness and justice and lovingkindness and compassion. I will espouse you in faithfulness and you shall know God (Hos. 2:21-22).
Provisions of the Covenant
The following are the provisions of the lovers' covenant into which _______________ (Hebrew name) daughter/son of________________ and_____________ and _____________ (Hebrew name) daughter/son of ___________ and _______________now enter:
1.___________________ and ______________ declare that they have chosen each other as companions, as our rabbis teach:
Get yourself a companion. This teaches that a person should get a companion, to eat with, to drink with, to study Bible with, to study Mishnah with, to sleep with, to confide all one's secrets, secrets of Torah and secrets of worldly things. (Avot D'Rabbi Nat an 8)
2. ___________ and _____________ declare that they are setting themselves apart for each other and will take no other lover.
3._____________ and ________________ hereby assume all the rights and obligations that apply to family members: to attend, care, and provide for one another [and for any children with which they may be blessed] [and for__________ _____________ child/children of _________]
4. __________________and ___________________ commit themselves to a life of kindness and righteousness as a Jewish family and to work together toward the communal task of mending the world.
5. ____________and ________________ pledge that one will help the other at the time of dying, by carrying out the last rational requests of the dying partner, protecting him/her from indignity or abandonment and by tender, faithful presence with the beloved until the end, fulfilling what has been written:
Set me as a seal upon your arm, for love is stronger than death. (Song of Songs 8:6)
To this covenant we affix our signatures.
Witnessed this day the _______ day of Parashat _____________ (Hebrew date).
From Engendering Judaism, copyright 1998, by The Jewish Publication Society. Used by permission.
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