In this week’s Torah portion, we read about Abraham instructing his trusted servant Eliezer to go to Aram Naharayim and find a suitable wife for his son Yitzchok. The Torah tells us at length how Eliezer went about to fulfill his mission and the divine assistance he received to find Rebeccah who was perfectly suitable for Isaac. After much deliberation with Rebeccah’s family, they finally give their consent for Isaac to bring Rebeccah to Isaac for marriage. On the way to Isaac’s home they suddenly meet Isaac in the field. When Rebeccah finds out that that the man that they met is Isaac the Torah tells us: “She took the veil and covered herself”.
Based on this verse the Jewish custom is that when a bride is brought under the Chupah (marriage canopy) her face is veiled.
The commentaries tell us a beautiful explanation for this seemingly peculiar custom. Perhaps the most important ingredient for a successful marriage is compatibility. When we choose a life partner, we look for qualities that speak to our particular personality. For some that may be a refined character for others, wisdom, charm etc. However, Judaism teaches us that there is yet a much greater connection between a married couple. A couple in marriage are meant for each other. There were linked before birth and were part of one soul. When they were born they were separated and when they marry the two halves reconnect.
This then is the reason for the veil, it is a statement being made by the groom saying, I am not choosing you because of your beauty or your refined features or wise eyes, rather because we are connected on a much deeper level it is our essence that are linked one to another.