At a Jewish wedding, why does the couple stand under a canopy?

Answered by
Rabbi Victor S. Appell

The canopy under which Jewish couples stand when they are married is called a chuppah. The chuppah represents the new home a couple establishes through their marriage. It also represents the sheltering presence of God and the wish for God's blessing over the couple. A chuppah can be as simple as a tallit (prayer shawl) attached to four poles supported by members of the wedding party or a large piece of decorative fabric attached to four stationary poles. Some wedding venues have structures that can serve as a chuppah and be decorated by a florist. The openness and temporal nature of the chuppah remind us that couples need to feel free to openly express their feelings to each other, and that new marriages require the support of friends and family.

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