Why does Josh break a glass at the end of the ceremony?
We are commanded, even in times of extreme joy, to remember the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. Shattering glass creates a loud, sharp noise that should pierce our ears and our hearts, reminding us of the Temple’s glass gate that King Solomon built especially for bridegrooms. Breaking a glass also recalls Moses’s breaking of the first tablets of the Law upon seeing the golden calf at Mount Sinai. It is appropriate to greet the couple with “Mazal Tov! ” (literally, “Good Luck!”) after breaking the glass, alluding to the verse: “He who has found a wife has found goodness (tov ), and he has brought favor from God” (Proverbs 18:22). However we take a moment to remember the destruction of the Temples, and to reflect on the verses that will be sung before breaking the glass: If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you; if I do not place Jerusalem above my highest joy.