The latest book in the Advice for Life series, The Edifice, gathers the Rebbe’s teachings on all things love and marriage, including the Jewish wedding. Like the other books in the series, it pairs snippets of wisdom drawn from the Rebbe’s talks and letters with stories. The book is written in accessible English and illustrated with original artwork.
“The Rebbe’s teachings on marriage are scattered in many places,” says Yitzchok Cohen of Hasidic Archives. “Here, everything was gathered together and presented in an easy-to-read format.”
In one story, the Rebbe asked a newly engaged man why a wedding is a joyous event. After all, we marry to create a new generation, which is a reminder of our own mortality.
The Rebbe explained: “In heaven, each soul is divided in two. One half is placed in a male body, the other in a female. At a wedding, we rejoice that the divided soul has been reunited.”
The Rebbe’s oft-repeated blessing to new couples, to build an “everlasting edifice,” is also explained here in depth: “This is not a poetic expression but a literal prescription for success. Just as a physical structure requires a solid foundation, a marriage must be founded on eternal Jewish tradition, teachings, and observance if it is to withstand the test of time.”
In “Why Wait?” the Rebbe urges a bride not to postpone her wedding for the sake of convenience. “Why would you postpone a good thing for such a long time?” the Rebbe asked. The bride answered that the entire family would be in Israel then anyway to commemorate the anniversary of passing of her brother.
The Rebbe reiterated, “If it is something good, why wait so long?”
If it were held earlier, she replied, her parents would have to travel to Israel twice.
The Rebbe answered simply, “If you find the time to get married, your parents will find the time to come to the wedding.”
The Edifice also includes the Rebbe’s explanation about why a wedding ring is made from gold. “Kesef, the Hebrew word for monetary value, can also be read as koisef, “yearning.” This is the deeper significance of Kiddushin, the part of the wedding ceremony when the groom sanctifies his bride by placing a ring on her finger. What seems like a financial transaction is actually the man’s expression of love and yearning for the other half of his soul.”