Remembering the Destruction of Jerusalem
2. Similarly, [as a reminder of the destruction of Jerusalem, the Sages]
ordained that when one makes a feast for guests, even a feast associated
with a mitzvah, one should not serve all the dishes that would ordinarily
be served at such a feast (1). Similarly, a woman should not wear all her
jewelry at one time (2).
[At a wedding,] a groom should place ashes on his head, on the place where
he wears Tefillin. The veil used to cover the bride should not contain
strands of silver or gold. Similarly, it is customary that when drawing up
the engagement contract ("t'no'im"), a dish is broken, as a remembrance of
the destruction; however, one should use a dish that is already broken.
Under the wedding canopy, the bridegroom should break a glass vessel; a
whole glass may be used (3).
(1) Omitting even one minor item is sufficient. On Shabbos and Yom Tov
however, nothing should be omitted from the traditional three meals,
because publicly showing signs of mourning on Shabbos is prohibited (Mishna
Berura 560:5,6, and Sha'ar HaTziyun 13).
(2) The Be'ur Halacha 560 (D"H: "Hiskinu") wonders why these two reminders
are not observed nowadays.
(3) The basis for requiring these reminders is the verse: "If I forget you,
O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning. May my tongue stick to
my pallet, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my
highest joy" (Psalms 137:5-6). Many have the custom to sing this verse
while the bride and groom are under the "chupah" ("wedding canopy").