So you’re standing there, under your Wedding Chuppah, having just walked down the aisle to “It’s Raining Men,” if you’re really gutsy, watching as this woman is slowly walking down that same aisle towards you with an artichoke bouquet in hand, and you’re wondering two things. First, if you’re going to suffer an epileptic fit right there due to all the camera flashes, and second, you have a wedgie, and how are you going to pick it without anyone noticing? And are the wedding guests even aware that she’s actually walking down with an artichoke, or do they just think it’s a giant green flower from the Amazon?

There are several things you should know about the Jewish wedding ceremony before getting married, knowledge of which will absolutely definitely maybe and possibly cause, prevent, or have nothing to do at all with, crippling bodily injury. It all depends on what you want to make up.

The first is, you will be destined to live with this one woman for the rest of your life until whenever such time as you decide to make the big move to Utah. Besides that, you should be aware of something else. That is, you’ll have no idea what’s going on and won’t remember a thing. This is good, because you can use it later as a way of spacing out in the middle of a fight. For example,

Your Wife: Why did you leave the toilet seat up again, Shmuel? Don’t you know that it’s completely impossible for me to put it down again and I can’t possibly be asked to do such a thing, ever, for the love of all that is holy and good? You can’t just do what you want! I’m your wife! Don’t you remember we got married?!

You: Huh? (Glazed look)

After you’ve both walked down the aisle, she will circle you seven times. This practice is taken from the Kabbalah, a book of Jewish mysticism that really likes making people dizzy and confused. So the Kabbalah people just figured they’d put a little spinning in the Jewish wedding ceremony to be consistent, why the heck not.

Somewhere along the line, some guy will read the marriage contract, called the Ketuba. This is read in Aramaic, the language of the ancient Jewish community in Babylon, present day Iraq, but it was much better back then when we were there. Anyway, the contract is worth 200 zuz, which, in all seriousness, is equal to the price of about 100 goats at market price. This is a pretty nice-sized herd, something which other religions’ ceremonies don’t dare offer. Who needs “holy water” and vows when you can get a goat herd? This can also come in useful in future fights.

Your Wife: Well Shmuel? Toilet seat? Up? I need an answer.

You: It must have been one of the goats.

After the Ketuba is read, there are seven blessings, and of course the broken glass. If you’re lucky, one of your friends will be cheap enough to try and actually give you the shards as a “wedding gift” so you can frame them and immortalize the happiest day of your life and so he doesn’t have to get you a Kiddush cup or something. What other people would so graciously accept a gift of glass shards as a wedding gift? I can’t think of any.

And in case any of you are wondering, yes, my wife actually walked down the aisle with an artichoke just to see if anyone would notice. And that’s why I married her. At least I’m pretty sure I did. I didn’t really understand what was going on too well, and and I’m not entirely certain about what happened after I surreptitiously picked my wedgie and had a camera-flash induced epileptic fit as she was spinning around me 7 times and somebody was reading about 200 zuz in Aramaic and I was thinking about a herd of goats.