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SIDIC Periodical XIV - 1981/1
Jewish and Christian Marriage Liturgies (Pages 04 - 09)

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The Jewish Liturgy of Marriage
Asher Finkel



The Jewish liturgy of marriage must be viewed primarily in the light of biblical thought and the communal affective response, which reflect the axiological meaning,' that is to say, the intrinsic values, of a significant collective experience. Its phraseology not only incorporates the scriptural words, but reveals clearly the interpretative dynamics of the nuptial covenant (Berith). The blessings are addressed to God, the creator and sustainer of the historical human community, which enjoys its continued existence through the union of male and female members. The "Bridegrooms' Benediction" (Birkat Hatanim) also conveys the meaning of the joy of this experience. What is shared by those assembled with the couple is "covenant love" (besed). As such, the Benedictions address the bride and groom, in whose union the expression of agape or altruistic love is manifested and desired. The marriage liturgy becomes both the communal response to the reality of God's presence and the accepting of God's way (Deut. 11:22; Sifre). On the one hand, the biblically-oriented group celebrates marriage with an historical awareness of a covenantal relationship to God, while on the other, it behaves in accordance with an ethical system governed by a deep sense of "imitatio Del". It is necessary then to focus on these two religious forces, beginning with the prophetic tradition concerning God's covenant.

Covenant and Matrimonial Symbolism

Prophetic speech utilizes matrimonial symbolism2 to express anthropopathically the dynamic relationship between God and Israel, for the prophet's personality is deeply affected by the divine pathos? By projection, even his private experience in the human realm reflects the dimension of transpersonal relationship.' Prophetic words, therefore, capture dramatically the event or situation in its experiential setting.' When they were first spoken and later liturgically recited, they came to awaken and to stir the people to an affective under. standing of the divine message. The community is asked to enter the word, to feel its cutting edge and to be shaken by its revealing power? Thus, the prophet addresses the dynamic word (debhar=logos) of God and the people are stimulated to an affective knowledge (da'at) of God. For da'at in Hebrew connotes more than the possession of abstract concepts; it is used also to depict a sexual union (Gen. 4:1). The knowledge of God? compasses inner appropriation, involving both the intellectual reception and the emotional response. It evokes deep feelings and affects the whole human personality. The prophets offer dramatic words which provide for the hearers a sense of intimacy with God, namely: to be in his presence and to be touched by divine love. No wonder the prophets view the historical relationship between God and his people in marital terms.

The prophetic conception of covenantal history is expressed and understood not as living under a suzerain treaty ° but as experiencing a marital relationship. It recalls affectionately the period of Israel's first encounter with God in the wilderness following the exodus (Jer. 2:1; Ezek. 16:8). This time was filled with deep theocentric meaning and has shaped the historiographic, ritualistic and legislative character of biblical faith. To the prophets the formative events of the exodus represent the essential forms for authentic relationship to God, The crossing of the Reed Sea followed by the Sinai event were occasions for the collective person to encounter the presence of God in an act of freedom and through the experience of mysterium tremendum et fascinans, as explained by R. Otto.10

A couple's initial encounter in marriage, a human experiential setting, is used by the prophet to present dramatically the free act of mutual acceptance,11 a union in joy and intimate concern for the other. God's covenant is expressed through a form of nuptial vow:" 12 “Ye shall be unto me a people and I shall be unto you a God" Such a vow bound the parties to each other "from this day on and forever", expressing their commitments and responsibilities in a marriage covenant.

This nuptial form's affects the deuteronomic understanding of the relationship between God and Israel (Deut. 26:17-19). Redactionally it is juxtaposed to both the pilgrim's annual confession before God (Deut. 26:5-11, 13-15) and the covenantal pronouncement of curses and blessings (Deut. 27). Thus the liturgical Heilsgeschiebte (salvation history) and the apodictic Gottesgesetz (divine law), two distinct Israelite forms, are dramatically linked with a prophetic view that the God-Israel encounter and "amen" commitments are respectively the cause and effect of a marital vow. Moreover, this consciousness moves the prophet to dramatize the future act of betrothal covenant between God and Israel. The renewal covenant will be sealed perpetually in justice and righteousness, in love and faithfulness. Only then is the da'at of God effective, resulting in the mutual declaration of the nuptial vow: "You are my people" and "You are my God" (Hos. 2:21-22, 23).

In prophetic thought the eschatological time of covenant renewal corresponds to the historical time of the initial encounter between God and his people. The dynamic religious history of Israel between these two temporal poles, then, reflects the true dialectic of the covenant. It is an interplay of closeness and distance, of excitement and weariness, of da'at and unfaithfulness. The human estrangement from God is portrayed in terms of adultery and separation, resulting in divorce or widowhood!' The prophetic use of matrimonial symbolism appeals to an immediate religious and moral regeneration (the call for repentance). It links affectively the remembered past with the prospect of renewal in the future (the new covenant).15

The Sacrament of Marriage and Divorce

The hierogamic (sacred marriage) understanding of the transpersonal relationship in prophetic thought clearly indicates a sacramental meaning of the interpersonal union. The covenant (berith) of marriage is compared with the holy (godesh) of God. As the holy is subject to desecration, so is the covenant when it is broken by taking another woman (Mal. 2:11). The act of divorce is called human betrayal "to your companion and to your wife of the covenant'. Since God is witness to the union, divorce is hateful to God (Mal. 2:14-16). Malachi's teaching on marriage that "has he (God) not made it one?" reflects the paradigmatic lesson of Adam and Eve becoming one flesh (Gem 2:24). This prophetic understanding clearly underlies the teaching of Jesus. "They are no longer two but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man put asunder" (Mk. 10:8, 9; Matt. 19:5, 6).

In the Christian church, the human bond is sanctioned as a covenant by God's intent for the created human order. The Markan tradition sees marriage as an indissoluble bond between two persons. It therefore presents the above lesson in juxtaposition to Jesus' saying on the prohibition of divorce " as a separate instruction to the disciples (Mk. 10: 10-12). Such is also the proscription of Jesus transmitted by Paul (I Cot 7:10, 11). However, the Matthean tradition suggests that although divorce is not desired, it can be granted in case of adultery (Matt. 19:9; 5:32). Apparently the debate with the Pharisees 17 on the issue of divorce indicates that the Mosaic allowance (neut. 24:1) was given, according to Jesus, to those with "hardness of heart" (Mk. 10:5; Matt. 19:8). Divorce comes only to terminate a human condition plagued with unresolved harsh feelings; the persons are released from a prolonged state of interpersonal enmity and persistent friction. In Matthean thought, the aggravated situation remains unresolved when there is an act of marital betrayal and divorce can he issued, for Christian life is principally marked by altruistic love in the interpersonal relationship (Mk. 12:31; Matt. 7:12 = Lk. 6:27-31; Jn. 13:34, 35 and Gal. 5:14). Marriage itself is a microcosm of covenantal life and as such must enjoy the fulness of the love commandment.

This Matthean understanding is shared by the rabbis. Although the Pharisaic schools have established grounds for divorce (Mishnah Giffin 9:10), Rabbi Yochanan of the third century taught that such an act is abhorred by God (B. Talmud Giffin 90b). In the view of Rabbi Akiba " of the second century, an incompatible marriage produces a situation of hatred in which the couple transgresses the biblical interpersonal injunctions forbidding vengeance, grudges and hatred, and commanding love of one's neighbor (Lev. 19:17, 18). For this reason, Rabbi Akiba even permits divorce in case the husband is beset with thoughts of a prettier woman.19

In the rabbinic view, betrothal20 was not a mere private agreement on the transference of legal ownership of the woman from her father to the husband, but above all a sarcamental act (qiddushin). Betrothal is to be witnessed by the community, which is sanctified through the fulfilment of God's commandments. This public act comes to restrict sexual union to the couple (the biblical law of holiness), thereby legitimatizing the children. Thus, a blessing of sanctification is pronounced over the sacramental wine prior to the symbolic act of betrothal, the placing of the ring.

“Blessed art thou, 0 Lord, our God, King of the universe, who hast sanctified us by his commandments and proscribed us illicit unions (Lev. 18), who hast forbidden unto us the betrothed but permitted us those who are wedded through the nuptial canopy and the sacramental act of betrothal. Blessed art thou, 0 Lord, who hast sanctified his people, Israel, through the nuptial canopy and the sacramental act of betrothal."

The betrothal event only symbolically ties the bond in anticipation of the wedding ceremony under the bridegroom's canopy and the actual union. In the biblical past these two events were separated in time and the former was solemnized by the public act of witness and the reading of the marriage contract. Both these acts reflect the couple's mutual agreement, which is acknowledged by the community and enforced "in accordance with the law of Moses and Israel". Such a sanctified bond in rabbinic thought allows the new social unit of two persons to enjoy God's presence. Rabbi Akiba taught: "When man and woman are privileged (with good marriage), God's presence (Shekhinah) is between them. Otherwise fire will consume them" (B. Talmud Sotah 17a). His disciple Rabbi Meir " explains that a union of flysh (man) and ishah (woman), living in accordance with God's ways and commandments, is blessed by the presence of God's name, Yah, that is to say, the y of ysh and h of ishah. Otherwise, God's name is removed from the two and they become fire 'esh, consuming each other in conflict and hatred. In their view, marriage parallels the relationship between God and the historical community. The biblical tradition speaks of the experience of God's presence and his withdrawal as it relates dynamically to a life governed either by the rule of altruistic love and righteousness or by egotism and violence."

Hierogamic Interpretation and Messianic Symbolism

The prophetic hierogamic view of covenantal history has influenced the rabbinic allegorical interpretation (Midrash). Israel is depicted as the bride and the Torah as the marriage contract (gamikon)." The nuptial period is compared with Sinaitic times and the Tabernacle (Temple) is considered the groom's canopy." The prophets represent the friends of the groom and the bridegroom-Messiah is dressed with the garments of salvation." The homiletic tradition 2° even preserves a hymn adressed to the groom-Messiah:

"Blessed is the time when the Messiah was conceived (literally created).
Blessed is the womb from which he came (cf. Lk. 11:27).
Blessed is the generation, that its eyes can see. Blessed is the eye that is privileged to see him (cf. Lk. 10:23).
For the greeting of his lips is blessing and peace; his talk soothing to the soul;
his attire reflects majesty and glory.
His speech conveys assurance and serenity;
his tongue offers remission of sins and forgiveness; his prayer is a pleasing scent;
his supplication bespeaks holiness;
and there is purity in his teachings."

Such nuptial hymns (shir yediduth) are presented in the Psalms (45, 2, 72), which were interpreted christologically (cf Targum and Midrash with Justin's Dialogue). These poetic forms derive from the setting of the wedding at which the bridegroom was greeted with song and verse. In light of this, the liturgical use of the biblical Canticles promoted an allegorical interpretation among the early Tannaites.27 The nuptial drama of the lover-king and his bride captures affectively the covenantal dynamics of the transpersonal relationship between God and Israel (see Targum, Midrash Rabba and Zuta to Canticles).

This rabbinic hermeneutical understanding, which indeed relates to the mystical language of transpersonal experience, was shared by the Church fathers, appearing already in the works of Origen. More significant, however, is the rabbinic background which provides meaning to messianic symbolism as found in the early Christian tradition. The forerunner prophet John is the friend of the groom and Jesus is the bridegroom (Jn. 3:29). The coalescence of God the groom (Isa. 62:5) with Jesus the messiah-groom determines the anthropopathic meaning of Christology. This shows how deeply the affective understanding of the covenant prevailed in the early Church (Eph. 5:25-32) for such was the tradition attributed to Jesus on self-designation (so Mk. 2:19, pp.). In addition, the future advent of the Messiah is depicted with matrimonial symbolism (Matt. 25:1-13). Thus, Christians and Jews share similar interpretative dynamics of the mystical and sacramental aspects of the covenant.

Hesed: Covenant-love

The correspondence between the transpersonal and interpersonal relationships in biblical thought affects also the axiological significance of the marital covenant. The type of love expressed in a covenantal union, which determines attitude and behavior, is called hesed. It is manifested in a persistent, steadfast, loyal and faithful concern for the other (eleos), as it flows from the deep sense of agape (altruistic love). On the transpersonal level, it shapes the attitude and behavior of the hasid, 28 i.e. pious dutifulness, humble devotion and pietas. On the interpersonal level, it is expressed in non-reciprocal actions, which are rendered in respectful consideration for the other. Loving deeds (gemilut hesed) are greater than mere almsgiving (sedupsh), since they involve the whole person in giving.29

God himself serves as the supreme example in the expression of covenant love (hesed).'° The pentateuchal tradition not only narrates his acts in a Heilsgeschichte of mankind,3' but suggests to the worshipping community socio-ethical guidelines in the "imitatio Der.32 The canonical text as read and experienced by the faithful offer archetypal examples for all generations of God's people.33 For the Targumist,34 the way of God in particular biblical events reflects affectively the ethical prescription of loving deeds for the liturgical community. The Palestinian Targum to Gen. 35:9 (Codex Neofiti) begins: 'God of the universe, may his name be blessed forever and ever", the liturgical address. It continues:

"You taught us fine commandments and beautiful statutes. You taught us the nuptial blessings from the case of Adam and his mate, as it is explicitly written: (Gen. 1:28) 'The Memra (Logos in Targum) of God blessed them and he said to them: Multiply, increase and fill the earth."

The liturgy of marriage is clearly associated with the communal participation in the act of covenant love. The biblical story of the archetypal union between Adam and Eve is used in the Midrash (Pirqe de Rabbi Eliezer 12; Gen. Rabba to Gen. 1:28) to underscore the significant lesson of "imitatio Der. It projects the meaning of the marriage ceremony as the expression of communal hesed. The midrash relates that God has constructed ten canopies for Adam the bridegroom (referring to Ezek. 28:13f) with the angels as the merrymaking escort. "God said to the ministering angels: Let us perform the act of hesed on behalf of Adam and his mate, for loving deeds sustain the world (referring to Mishnah Abot 1:2)." Such acts were indeed performed in Jerusalem during the Second Temple period by the inhabitants, who would gather on the steps of the Huldah gate of the Temple (recently uncovered) to welcome the bridegroom (Soferim 19:9). The Midrash, therefore, interpretatively maintains that the communal participation in the nuptial rite transcends the liminal meaning of passage.35

Each stage of the wedding celebration 30 involves a public demonstration and preparation of the bride. It follows with a bridal procession, when respected members of the community escort and lead the bride into the groom's canopy. Under the canopy, a structure or room especially prepared for the newlyweds, the nuptial blessings are recited. The celebration ends with a communal wedding feast, for the dramatic expression of Berith (covenant) was translated into partaking of a common meal (the meaning of Hebrew barab). The marriage event was experienced in a collective setting, the basic socio-religious unit of at least ten persons being required (B. Talmud Kettubah 7b; 8b). Indeed the occasion offered an opportunity for the entire community to participate in the act of hesed, for the collective expression of covenant love came to support and deepen the agapic meaning of the marital union for the individuals. At the wedding banquet the gathering responded to the bride and groom as a royal couple, whose presence implied the dignity and majesty first bestowed by God upon the human couple. Each union in a biblically oriented community shares in the intended purpose of human existence. This understanding is expressed through the nuptial blessings that were recited, not only on the first day, but throughout the week of festivities. During this period, the symbolic seven days of creation, hospitality was extended to guests, friends and relatives. In the company of the groom and bride they enjoyed the elated feeling of togetherness and friendship with a joyous spirit of shalom (peace and wholeness). They shared in this expression through song, verse and music, conveying a sense of God's blessing.

Pilgrimage Experience and the Lament for the Destruction of the Temple

The week of joyous table fellowship celebrates the critical liminal period in a human life cycle, the time of marriage following puberty. Phenomenologically it corresponds to the week of joyous pilgrim fellowship at a sacrificial meal. The latter celebrates the liminal period in nature's seasonal cycle. The biblical week of pilgrimage, however, was devoid of the mythopoeic dramatization of the primordial event determining the cosmic order." It was instead generated with the religio-historical meaning of the formative event affecting human redemption. During the feast of collective anamnesis (i.e. remembrance as at e.g. Passover), the pilgrims shared in the experiential response (e.g. the Narration and the evocative food symbols) of the original community to God's presence (the time of the exodus). The week of pilgrimage in Zion, then, becomes the socio-religious occasion for a communal experience of covenant love.

This coalescence of the present community with its historical beginnings functions similarly in the dramatic linkage of the individual couple with the original pair. This dynamic liturgical complex affects the meaning of the anticipated messianic future. The eschatological teachings draw upon both matrimonial and pilgrimage symbolism. The wedding feast and the sacrificial peace-meal of pilgrims prefigure the messianic banquet at the end of time. The septennial period of celebration projects the temporal duration of salvific history." It also corresponds to the liturgical cycle of sabbatical years. Thus, the parable of Jesus depicting the heavenly kingdom as a wedding feast (Matt. 22:1-14) is determined by the experiential setting of marriage. Even the attitude of the guests expressed with proper wedding attire receives special attention. The sacrificial meaning of Jesus' messianic life is developed from the Passover symbolism of the pilgrimage celebration.

The Jewish eschatological tradition, as reflected in the daily petitions," first depicts the redemption of Israel through the ingathering of the exiles in the historical future. The marriage event, therefore, was affected by the present situation of exilic life, for the covenantal union not only captured the ideal meaning of the archetypal past but also held the redemptive prospect for the future. In the present the historical Israel remains unredeemed, its Temple destroyed and Judea desolated. Following the destruction of the Temple, the joy experience was provided by the marriage event, for pilgrimage was not possible. The occasion for celebration became subdued by the exilic experience of lament for the Temple.

The wedding ceremony was dramatically changed by the significant elimination of the royal attire of the groom and bride, the musical accompaniment and the bridal procession." The exilic reality had a parallel effect on the marriage liturgy, echoing the prospect for eschatological redemption. For the marriage event, through participation at the meal and the recital of blessings, effectively moved the community from the present anguished reality to the anticipated joy open to a future generation. Such a prospect is made possible through the present marital union. Thus, the antiphonal invitation to the blessings after the meal reveals that the group enjoys the marriage event as a joyous sharing in God's presence. They bless God "in whose abode is joy" (B. Talmud Ketubot 8a). The reference to God's abode (Ma'on) suggests the apocalyptic correspondence with the heavenly realm, where the angelic familia celebrates with hymns of joy (B. Talmud Hagigah 12b). Accordingly, the vocal participation in joyous response at the wedding meal is perceived as a Eucharistic service (Todah) of the Temple, which promotes the restoration of Jerusalem (B. Talmud Berakhot 8b).

The Marriage Liturgy

The marriage liturgy is transmitted by the Babylonian academy of the third century (R. Yehudah of Pumbeditha; Talmud Ketuboth 8b). It preserves two distinct parts, each consisting of three benedictions." The first part links the event of marriage with the purpose of creation. The biblically-oriented community witnesses to God, the creator of the universe. In God's presence the human couple solemnize their union as the realization of the divine intention. Their bond dramatizes the original union of Adam and Eve. The blessings are recited over the cup of wine, signifying a sacramental act. They are pronounced in the company of at least ten men, the basic ecclesiastical unit." The blessings are offered in praise of God, the source of all blessings for the worshipping community.

The first benediction reads: "Blessed art thou, 0 Lord our God, King of the universe, who hast created everything to his glory." This reflects the prophetic teaching: "...everything that is called by my name; it is for my glory I have created it" (Isa. 43:7).43

The second benediction reads: "Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, the creator of the human being (the Adam)." This is a praise response of a witnessing community to an event of God's creative purpose. A similarly-worded praise response ("the creator of the cosmos") is uttered upon seeing the earth's created forms (mountains, seas and deserts) and the heavenly manifestations (the comets and the sun at the beginning of the great cycle of 28 years).44

The third benediction reads: "Blessed art thou, 0 Lord our God, King of the universe, who hast created Adam in his image, after the likeness of his prototype (tabbnit), and hast prepared unto him, out of his very self, a perpetual fabric (i.e. Eve). Blessed art thou, 0 Lord, creator of humankind (the Adam)".45 These words allude to the creation story of Adam and Eve. The present human couple share in the divine pattern of creation.

The second part of the marriage liturgy addresses the couple which shares the joy of covenantal experience with the historical community. First the present exilic situation affects the joyous experience, which gives rise to an expression of hope for the return to Zion (the recalled site of pilgrimage). The benediction reads: "Let the barren (Zion) be exceeding glad and exult upon the ingathering of her children within her in joy. Blessed art thou, 0 Lord, who makest Zion to rejoice with her children.-4e These words allude to the prophetic matrimonial imagery and eschatology (Isa. 54:1, 6 and 35:10). It captures also the present state of aloneness in exile, the experience of lament for Zion (compare the collective lament of Psalm 137:5). Thus the fate of Jerusalem is dramatically recalled in time of joy. 47

The second benediction focuses on the covenant love experienced by the assembly in the presence of the loving couple. It receives axiological meaning from God's archetypal act of hexed. "0 make these loved companions greatly to rejoice, as thou originally madest thy creation rejoice in the garden of Eden. Blessed art thou who makest groom and bride to rejoice". These words address God as "thou", whose presence affects "imitatio" in his creatures.

The third benediction becomes the cry for immanent (meherah)" redemption, when joy of harmony and peaceful togetherness is experienced at marriage. This proleptic eschatology is expressed as the final prayer under the groom's canopy and at the wedding feast. "Blessed art thou, 0 Lord our God, King of the universe, who hast created joy and gladness, groom and bride, mirth and exultation, love and brotherhood, peace and fellowship. Soon, 0 Lord our God, let there be heard in the towns of Judea and in the squares of Jerusalem the voice of joy and gladness, the voice of groom and bride," (like the) jubilant sound of grooms from their canopies and of youths from the banquet of song. Blessed art thou, 0 Lord, who makest the groom rejoice with the bride". The eschatological promise eschoes the words of Jer. 33:10, 11 and it is sandwiched between the feelings evoked at the wedding ceremony and its experiential setting (the canopy and the banquet). As blessing for the couple, custom prevailed that it offers the opportunity for spontaneous personal prayer for the groom and bride 50

The first part of the marriage liturgy is symmetrical to the second part in the repetition of the benedictory conclusion. The former refers to the creation of mankind and the latter to the joy of the couple. The former stresses coalescence with the archetypal event of the beginning. The human acknowledgement of creation attests to God's glory. The latter focuses on the eschatological prospect for the historical community. This reflects corporate consciousness for the male and female members, whose joy in union is linked affectively with the joyous prospect for the children of Zion. Thus, these two parts come to bridge the past with the future in the covenantal event of the present.

1. On the relationship of the axiological meaning to the religious experience of the worshippers, see M. Kadushin, Worship and Ethics, New York, Bloch, 1963.
2. Refer to A. Neher, The Prophetic Existence, London, Yoseloff, 1969.
3. See A. Heschel, The Prophets, New York, Harper & Row, I, 1969; II, 1971.
4. So the marriage of Hosea (1-3) and the death of Ezekiel's wife (24:15-27). Transpersonal relationship is the relationship between the persons (individual or collective) and God, whereas the interpersonal represents the relationship between human persons.
5. So the use of the "lawsuit" (ribh) form by the prophets. It places the hearers in a court setting, where the past is reviewed and the future is decided. This phenomenological approach can explain the parabolic speech of the prophet as effective psychodramatic words.
6. The prophet speaks the word he carries as a sharp sword (Isa. 49:2) or the sound of a ram's horn (Isa. 58:1). It is a penetrating word, which comes to disturb the people. The bearer, therefore, faces persecution, as is the case with Jeremiah.
7. See A. Heschel, The Prophets, I, pp. 57-60 and the Hebrew Encyclopedia Biblica, II, pp. 697-700.
8. So G.E. Mendenhall, Lau, and Covenant in Israel and the Ancient Near East, Pittsburgh, 1955. Consult the review by D.J. McCarthy, Old Testament Covenant, Atlanta, Knox Press, 1972.
9. See S. Terrien, The Elusive Presence, New York, Harper, 1978, ch. 3 and E. Jacob, Theology of the Old Testament, New York, Harper, 1958, p. 190 on the eschatological correspondence.
10. Idea of the Holy, Oxford U.P. 1958. See R. Davidson, R. Otto's Interpretation of Religion, Princeton, 1947.
11. Even though in biblical times marriage was arranged between the parents, Ezekiel's depiction of covenantal history (ch. 16) refers to Israel as an abandoned child, who enters into nuptial ties on her own. At this first encounter God takes the initiative. Subsequently, the person must seek the covenantal relationship with God, paradigmatically depicting proselytes (B. Talmud Qiddushin 70b).
12. Such nuptial vows are employed in prophetic writings (Hos. 2:25; Zech. 8:8; Ezek. 11:20; 14:10; 13:24; 36:28; 37:23, 27; Jet. 11:4; 24:7; 30:22; 32:30). Refer to the marriage contract of the Elephantine papyri (Kraeling 7, 440 B.C.E.) and that of Babatha (Yadin, Bat Kochba, 128 CE.). This form was preserved over the centuries.
13. The nuptial vow is introduced with the verb 'amar. Palestinian Targum I relates the meaning to the Arabic hatab, a love declaration (so B. Talmud Berakhoth 6a). Palestinian Targum II (Neofiti), however, relates it to the Arabic emir, act of coronation. The Hebrew appears to reflect the meaning of oath-taking (so B. Talmud Gittin 5713).
14. From Hosea's vision and on, the reference to adultery appears and separation is indicated in Isa. 54:6. Divorce is portrayed in Hos. 2:4; Jet. 3:1 and widowhood in Lam. 1:1.
15. So Ezek. 37:27 and Jer. 32:30. Thus Ezek. 36:28; Jer. 31:32 refer to the new covenant as the purifactory event of a changed personality. The reception of a new human heart is understood apocalyptically as the removal of the evil inclination from human nature.
16. Cf. the comparative study with Rabbinic law and Essene texts, so D. Daube, The New Testament and Rabbinic Judaism, London, 1956; J.D.M. Derrett, Law in the New Testament, London, 1970 and the earlier work of I. Abrahams, Studies in Pharisaism and the Gospels, reprinted New York, Ktav, 1967.
17. On the debate see R. Banks, Jesus and the Law in Synoptic Tradition, Cambridge, 1975. The classical text is Mishnah Gittin 9:10; see A. Finkel, The Pharisees and the Teacher of Nazareth, Leiden, Brill, 1974, on the Shammaites and Hillelites.
18. Abot de R. Nathan, ed. S. Schechter, I, p. 83. Compare Tosefta Sotah 5:11 in the name of R. Meir, the disciple of R. Akiba.
19. See Tosephta Kipheshutah, ed. S. Lieberman, VIII, p. 663.
20. Cf. D.M. Feldman, Marital Relations, Birth Control and Abortion in Jewish Law, New York, Schocken, 1968; Louis M. Epstein, Sex Laws and Customs in Judaism, New York, Bloch, 1948. Compare B. Schereschewsky, Family Law, Jerusalem, Mass, 1958.
21. See Lecialz Tobh on Genesis, ed. Buber, p. 23 and compare Pirke de R. Eliezer 12 and Midrash Hagadol to Gen. 2:23.
22. Consult my forthcoming monograph on God's Presence and His Absence, South Orange, Institute of Judaeo-Christian Studies, 1981.
23. The Midrash lists the ten biblical references to Israel as bridge; Pesiqta de R. Kahana, Sos 'Asir. Torah as marriage contract is found in a parable, Exodus Rabba to 34:27.
24. See Mishnah Ta'anit 4:8 and Pesiqta de R. Kahana.
25. See Echa Rabba to Lam. 1:1; Yalqut Simeoni to Jet. 2:1 and Pesiqta Rabbati 37.
26. See Pesiqta de R. Kahane, ed. Mandelbaum II, Additions, Sos 'Asir, p. 470.
27. Cf. M.H. Pope's Introduction to Song of Songs, Anchor Bible, Garden City, Doubleday, 1977.
28. Cf. A. Buehler, Types of Jewish Palestinian Piety, reprinted New York, Ktav, 1968 and G. Vermes, Jesus the Jew, New York, Macmillan, 1973, part 1, 3.
29. So Palestinian Talmud Pe'ah I: I; see G.F. Moore, Judaism, II, Cambridge, Harvard, 1950, part 5, 7.
30. So defined by Norman H. Snaith, The Distinctive Ideas of the Old Testament, New York, Schocken, 1964, ch. 5.
31. So G. Ernest Wright and Reginald H. Fuller, The Book of the Acts of God, Garden City, Doubleday, 1960.
32. See S. Schechter, Some Aspects of Rabbinic Theology, New York, Schocken, 1961, pp. 119ff; M. Waxman, Judaism: Religion and Ethics, London, Yosseloff, 1953, pp. 227-232.
33. So is the hermeneutical understanding in the Book of Jubilees and Pirqe de R. Eliezer. This is also reflected in the Aggadic principle of "works of the Patriarchs are signs to the descendants".
34. Compare the quoted text with Palestinian Targum to Deut. 34:6, which offers also the example of matchmaking (see also B. Talmud 'Abodah Zarah 3b. Compare the homiletic lesson in B. Talmud Sotah 14a and Sabbath 133b. This liturgical understanding refers to the seven corporal acts of mercy (cf. Matt. 25:35-40 with Isa. 58:6, 7).
35. On the liminal meaning see Arnold Van Gennep, The Rites of Passage, Chicago, University Press, 1960; Victor Turner, The Ritual Process, Ithaca, N.Y.; Cornell U., 1977.
36. Cf. The Jewish People in the First Century, II ed. Safrai and Stern, Compendium Rerun Iudaicarum, Philadelphia, Fortress, 1976, pp. 752-760.
37. Compare M. Eliade, Cosmos and History, New York, Harper, 1959. See E.O. James, Seasonal Feasts, New York, Barnes and Noble, 1961.
38. So B. Talmud Sanhedrin 99a, referring to Isa. 62:5. On the sabbatical setting for messianic movement, see B.Z. Wachholder, "Sabbatical" in the Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, Supplementary Volume, Nashville, Abingdon, 1976.
39. See Kaufmann Kohler, "The Origin and Composition of the Eighteen Benedictions" in Contributions to the Scientific Study of Jewish Liturgy, ed. Petuchowski, New York, Ktav, 1970.
40. See Mishnah Sotah 9:14 and Tosefta 15:7, 12-15.
41. There was a difference in the liturgical use of the two parts. In Palestine only three benedictions were recited; see 'Osar Hageonim, ed. B.M. Levin, VIII: Ketuboth, pp. 28, 91.
42. So B. Talmud Ketuboth 7b, referring to Ecclesia (Ps. 68:27) and compare B. Talmud Berakhot 21b on the ecclesiastical quorum.
43. Compare the final paragraph in Pereq Qinyan and Abot de R. Nathan.
44. See Mishnah Berakhot 9:2 and B. Talmud 59b.
45. The Adam refers both to the singular human type (Gem 3:22) or the collective (Gen. 6:1).
46. Another recension reads `in the building of Jerusalem". This dual reading of Baneba-Binyanah reflects a similar dual reading in Matt. 11:19, "in her deeds" and Lk. 7:35: "by all her children".
47. Such became the custom of breaking a dish under the canopy; see further Encyclopedia Talmudit, XII, ed. Zevin, entry: Zekber Laburban.
48. The use of the interjection maker in prayer may explain the rendition epiousios for mabar (tomorrow) in the Our Father.
49. This link with the prophetic text offers the experiential interpretation of Jeremiah's promise. On the Blessings, see Encyclopedia Talmudit, ed. Zevin, IV: Birkat Hatanim.
50. See Ahodat Israel, ed. I. Baer, Redelsheim, 1918, p. 565; offering a poem of the Roman liturgy.


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