The Temple Institute initiated an actual wedding ceremony on the Temple Mount, only the second time this has been performed in some 2000 years. The following is a press release we just received, describing the clandestine simcha.
An engaged couple recently approached Rabbi Chaim Richman, the International Director of the Temple Institute, and asked him if he would supervise their marriage on the Temple Mount. After scrupulously examining the detailed halachot (Jewish law) concerning the marriage ceremony, and consulting with other rabbinical authorities, Rabbi Richman happily accepted the task upon himself.
The couple met with Rabbi Richman early one recent morning in the Old City of Jerusalem, at the headquarters of the Temple Institute, where the blessing over wine was made, a prerequisite to the marriage ceremony. Two appointed witnesses then met the couple at the entrance to the Temple Mount. The witnesses were obligated to both hear the declaration of marriage from the lips of the groom and see him place the gold wedding band on the bride’s finger. All members of the party were instructed by Rabbi Richman that this had to be done without drawing the attention of the Israel police or the Muslim Waqf guards who would be accompanying the group of Jewish worshipers on the Temple Mount. Were they to notice they would certainly arrest all the parties involved and remove them immediately from the compound.
The plan went like clockwork, and while walking along the eastern perimeter of the Temple Mount, Rabbi Richman gave a tacit signal. The two witnesses drew close to the groom, who, ring in hand, said quietly to the bride, “Behold, you are sanctified to me with this ring, in accordance with the law of Moshe and Israel,” and quickly slipped the ring on the bride’s finger. This act, known as kiddushin (sanctification) is the binding act of marriage in any Jewish wedding ceremony. The couple was now married. They later stood beneath the chuppah (marriage canopy) at a different location and heard the reading of the ketubah (marriage contract).
The Temple Institute was able to capture the entire Temple Mount wedding on video, but in accordance with the wishes of the couple, are only publicly sharing two still shots, one of the groom placing the ring on the bride’s finger, and one of the bride holding up her hand, showing the ring to the camera.
The ancient custom of brides and grooms visiting the Temple Mount (separately) on the day of their wedding has been revived in recent years, but the actual performance of the wedding ceremony on the Temple Mount is a unique act in history following the destruction of the Holy Temple 2000 years ago.
Mazal Tov to the couple and a huge Yishar Koach to Rabbi Richman and the Temple Institute.