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Can a Rabbi officiate an interfaith wedding?

by Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow

  

Library » Jewish Identity » Non-Jews » Intermarriage | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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Question:

I am having trouble finding a rabbi to marry myself (a Jew) and my fiance (a non Jew). Any suggestions?

Answer:

Jewish thought views marriage as the sanctification of a relationship. In marriage we summon G-d into our relationship and ask for His blessing. Before the marriage it was a partnership of two. The marriage ceremony introduces a third partner, namely G-d.

Geometrically a three point triangle is the strongest structure. Introducing a third point that husband and wife can look to in mutual devotion introduces a new measure of strength and consistency. Indeed, our sages taught that a thrice threaded rope is not easily undone.

On a deeper level, marriage binds man and woman on a dimension that was not accessible to them earlier. A man and woman can pledge undying commitment to each other before marriage, they can connect intellectually and emotionally before marriage, but their souls cannot connect until they invoke G-d's name and channel His blessing into their relationship.

Once we view marriage as an invitation to G-d to join the relationship it becomes obvious that marriage is only possible under circumstances sanctioned by G-d. A member of the clergy who officiates at a wedding can at most invite G-d to join a relationship but he cannot force G-d to join.

Can a couple be declared married if we know with certainty that G-d does not sanction, and will therefore not join, their relationship? Marriage is not accomplished by the performance of the ceremony but by the presence of G-d. When G-d absents Himself the marriage is not in effect.

You are not looking for someone to edorse your love, you are looking for someone to sanction your marriage.

An honest Rabbi, honest to his boss - G-d, and honest to his constituents - you, cannot officiate at a wedding that is only a facade but is missing its soul.


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RELATED CATEGORIES

Life Cycle » Marriage » Intermarriage

G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.