Jewish Wedding Rings - The Jewish Tradition of the Wedding Ring
The Ring's Meaning at the Jewish Wedding
The wedding ring has a very deep and significant meaning in Judaism. The wedding ring has a much greater binding effect then just any ring since with the giving of the ring under the Chupah, marriage takes place. There are very clear laws as to how the ring must look and what material it should be made of so that it should be a kosher ring to validate the marriage. In Jewish law the wedding ring is only given to the woman, for the man sanctifies the woman with the ring and not the other way round. It is of great importance to know all the rules and regulations concerning the ring in order to have a kosher wedding in accordance to the Torah law.
The Rings Shape
The ring must be gold and round along the inside, smooth on the outside and without any decorations. It must be made of one piece of metal and should not have any diamonds and gemstones.
Why the Ring is Smooth ?
The reason for the prohibition of not having diamonds and precious stones on the ring is to prevent the woman from marrying her husband only because of the expensive ring, and to avoid a situation where the woman might think the value of the ring is greater then it’s true value and marry her husband for this mistaken reason. In addition to this reason lies a message for the bride, just as the wedding band is simple and plain so should one focus on the spiritual part of the ceremony not the material part. Today it is customary at weddings to ask the bride in front of the witnesses if she knows that the true value of the ring is worth only a penny, in order to prove that the relationship between bride and groom is not a material one.
If you Insist on Adding Diamonds ?
If one wishes to add stones to the ring to make is look more illustrious, one must take into account that not all Rabbi’s will agree to officiate at the wedding with such a ring. According to the law, if the band is more than just a plain gold ring, the groom must inform his bride of the true value of the ring. Couples who do wish to have such a ring usually tend to buy two rings, a kosher simple one for the ceremony and also an expensive one with gemstones for after the wedding.
For those who do wish to give their groom a wedding ring, do it after the actual ceremony. They do this as a gesture of love, but this is not a procedure bound to the law. This is more out of belief that both sides show a commitment towards each other.
Buying the Ring
One must make sure that the wedding band is bought by the groom with cash only, not on credit, not with a credit card or any other form of payment, this is due to the fact that the ring is what binds the couple together, and if the ring doesn’t belong to the groom he cannot sanctify her with it. Were it to be that the parents of the groom bought the ring they must give it to their son and specify that it is a present for him to keep.
The Way the Ring is Given
The ring is given under the Chupah with the right hand of the groom onto a finger of the bride’s right hand, before giving the ring the groom says the words "הרי את מקודשת לי בטבעת זו כדת משה וישראל" and only then places the ring onto her finger.