Our main interest today is marriage, ‘ni•su•in’. Much has changed since the biblical time regarding marriage, especially the abolishment of polygamy. This major change was established by Gershom ben Judah, (c. 960-1040) who was known by the title Rabbeinu Gershom Me’Or Hagolah (‘Our teacher Gershom the light of the exile’) who prohibited polygamy in every Jewish community in the world.
The related verb to ‘nisuin’ is ‘na•sa’. In the following verse, the Hebrew word used is ‘nasa’ in the meaning of ‘married’, and not just ‘took’ as the translation offers:
‘And Rehoboam loved Maachah the daughter of Absalom above all his wives and his concubines; for he took eighteen wives, and sixty concubines; and fathered twenty eight sons, and sixty daughters’
Although there is another biblical word for marriage that is still used today, ‘nisuin’ is the word used the most in Hebrew today for wedding and marriage. Saying: ‘he got married’ is ‘nasa ee•sha’, (literally, ‘married a woman’ or ‘married a wife’).
Nasa though has another meaning in Hebrew. It also means to ‘carry’ and to ‘lift up’. Therefore one does not say the name of God in Hebrew. Rather, the Hebrew expression is ‘lift up the Name of God’. This word is ‘nasa’ illustrates the direction of the utterance of God’s name – upwards.
‘You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain’.
Marrying a wife then equals in Hebrew to ‘lifting up’ or ‘carrying a wife’. This illuminates the old custom of lifting up and carrying the wife just after the wedding ceremony. If you did that too or have been carried when you got married, you should realize that it was because of Hebrew. But lifting up the wife has also a symbolic meaning in addition to the physical. It is the spiritual guidance that calls for the proper conduct towards the wife – lifting her up as another old saying suggests – after all she is the better half!
And if you believe in coincidence, look at the abbreviated name of The National Aeronautics and Space Administration – NASA and try to picture what they do with their space shuttles while thinking again of the Hebrew word for LIFTING UP! Yes, it is, indeed, ‘nasa’.