the jewish wedding ceremony

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An explanation of the stages of a Jewish wedding ceremony including English translations of the documents used in the ceremony.


  • The Beurei Hatefila InstituteThe Jewish Wedding Ceremony

    Introduction To The Jewish Wedding Ceremony

    The Jewish wedding ceremony is unique in that it consists of a series ofBrachos, instructions and documents. In the following pages, you willfind:

    The History Of The ChuppahThe English Translation Of The TaNaImThe English Translation Of The Ketubah (marriage contract)The History Of The Jewish Marriage ContractAn Old Version Of The Kiddushin CeremonyHow A Ring Became A Part Of The Jewish WeddingCeremonyA Change To The The Jewish Wedding Ceremony ApprovedBy Cheif Rabbi Hermann Adler Of EnglandThe Pre-Nuptial Agreement Approved By The rabbinivcalCouncil Of America To Prevent Agunot-Chained Women

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  • The Beurei Hatefila InstituteThe Jewish Wedding Ceremony


    Daniel Sperber, The Jewish Lifecycle, page 250-R. Moses Iserles (Rema, d. 1572) writes inhis glosses to the Shulchan Aruch: According to one opinion, chuppah does not consist ofyichud, but rather it is any act of the groom bringing her to his house for the purpose ofmarriage (as was written by Ran [Rabbenu Nissim], beginning of Ketubot); and accordingto another view, chuppah consists of the unfurling of a handkerchief over their heads at thetime of the blessing (brought by the Beit Yosef); and yet another view, maintains thatchuppah is effected when she goes forth in a veil, and for a widow, when they engage inyihud (tosefot, first chapter of Yoma). The current starightforward practice is to callhuppah the place where a cloth is spread over poles, under which the groom and thebride are brought in, in public, where he bethroths, and where the bethrothal and weddingblessings are recited; after which they are led to his house, and they eat together in aconcealed place-and this is the chuppah that is practiced at present.

    p. 256-What led to the emergence of a new form of chuppah in Poland at the turn of the16th Century? Rabbi Elijah Bahur-Ashkenazi, who lived in Italy a generation before R.Moses Isserles, told of the existence of this [canopy] chuppah in his land. He called it abaldaquin, the non-Hebrew name of the canopy that is supported by poles that wasborne over the Pope in the medieval period when he went to certain rites. It is known thatthe use of the baldaquin in a dignified procession spread from the Popes to the kings ofEurope, and later, also to other societal strata in many European lands. The first use by theJews of a cloth on poles is known to us from a painting in 1417.

    The canopy unfurled over poles was first used to adorn the processions of importantindividuals. Over the course of time, this practice also spread to many European Jewishcommunities, for the inauguration of a new Torah scroll, and for the procession of HataneiTorah on Simhat Torah.

    In Germany and Poland the pole canopy was used to bring the bride to the betrothal andwedding ceremony. After the bride arrived at the site of the ceremony, it was the practiceof some to remove the cloth [on the poles], and to spread a talit over the heads of thegroom and bride as a chuppah. Once the talit had been spread over them, the canopy onpoles remained behind, with no further use.

    While in German communities the canopy on poles was used for the bridal procession, andat times to augment the talit canopy, the former became the sole chuppah in EasternEurope, with its gradual abandonment in the bridal procession, until it was reservedexclusively for the chuppah requirement of the wedding ceremony.

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  • The Beurei Hatefila InstituteThe Jewish Wedding Ceremony


    The Presiding Rabbi recites the Bracha over wine and the recites the following Bracha:Blessed are You, G-d, our G-d, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with Hiscommandments, and has commanded us regarding forbidden marriages; Who forbadebethrothed women to us, and permitted women who are married to us through canopy andconsecration. Blessed are You G-d, Who sanctifies His people Israel through the canopyand consecration.

    The Groom says to the bride:

    Behold, you are consecrated to me by means of this ring, according to the ritual of Mosesand Israel.

    He then places the ring on the index finger of her right hand.

    According Rav Saadiya Gaon, Chief Rabbi of the Jewish Community in Babyloniain the 900s.

    When a male Jew wishes to marry a female Jewess, he should write for her a Ketubah,marriage contract. He then gathers ten men and sanctifies her to him with the recital of aBracha over wine and a Bracha over a scented tree branch (Hadas), if those are available tohim. He then recited the Bracha over wine and the Bracha over the aroma of spices.

    Then he recites the following Bracha: Blessed are You, our Lord, King of the world whosanctified us by inviting us to observe Your commandments and ordered us to refrain fromillicit marriages and forbade us from having relations with those who are married andpermitted us to cohabit with those whom we married provided that we do so under aChuppah and by first sanctifying our wives to us. Blessed are You G-d who sanctified theJewish People.

    He then says to her: I hereby cause to be engaged and to be sanctified (name of bride) tome (name of groom) with this cup and what is in this cup (something of monetary valueshould be in the cup) and this Ketubah and what is written in this Ketubah.

    The groom then takes the Ketubah in his hands and give it to his bride and says: Take yourKetubah in your hands in consideration of you agreeing to live under my jurisdiction inaccordance of the laws that Moses, our Teacher, taught us and which were accepted by theJewish People.

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  • The Beurei Hatefila InstituteThe Jewish Wedding Ceremony

    Presenting A Ring As Part Of The Jewish Wedding CeremonyThe Book Of Differences In Practice Between The Jews Of Babylonia And The Jews OfEretz Yisroel-Difference Number 25-The Jews of Babylonia do not use a ring as part of the Jewishwedding ceremony while the Jews of Eretz Yisroel do include a ring as part of the Jewish wedding ceremony.

    Commentary by Professor Mordecai Margulies: The use of a ring as part of the Jewishwedding ceremony is not an ancient tradition. Neither the Mishna nor the Talmud everspeak of a ring being used as part of that ceremony. In fact we know from several sourcesthat a variety of other objects were used to solemnize a Jewish wedding provided theobjects had a monetary value of at least one peruta, the lowest value coin that was part ofthe currency of that era. The custom of presenting a ring can be traced to the period of theGeonim and developed from the practices in Eretz Yisroel where most women receivedthe object of monetary value directly and not through the agency of their fathers which wasthe norm in Babylonia. The difference in practice arose because the average age of awoman who married in Eretz Yisroel was higher than those of women who wed inBabylonia. As a result the practice began in Eretz Yisroel to present brides with a piece ofjewelry as part of the wedding ceremony, usually a ring. (Footnote: perhaps this practicecan be traced to the influence of the Romans who regularly used a ring as part of theirwedding ceremonies). However, in Babylonia, where in most cases the father accepted theobject of monetary value, the custom was not established that the object of monetary valuebe a ring. Instead, the custom followed Babylonia was to give a cup of wine as that objectof monetary value. This practice is mentioned in passing by one of the Geonic responsesas follows: I hereby become engaged to you . . . with this cup of wine and what is in it.That wording is also presented by Rav SaAdiya Gaon in his Siddur as the text of theKiddushin ceremony. That represented the practice among the Jews of Persia and wasfollowed in other locations and is still the practice among some Jews of the East.

    We have already seen several times that in situations in which the Talmud is silent as to apractice and the practice consists purely of a custom, that the practice of the Jews of EretzYisroel prevailed. That is what happened concerning the custom of the Jews of EretzYisroel in using a ring as the object of monetary value presented at the wedding ceremony.The practice then spread to other areas and eventually took hold in Babylonia as well. Inthe second half of the Geonic period, we find sources among the Babylonian Geonim thatspeak of presenting a ring as part of the Jewish wedding ceremony. In France andGermany, the practice grew popular as it did in Spain as well. The Tur acknowledges: theJewish world follows the practice of using a ring as the object of monetary value that isnecessary to complete the Jewish wedding ceremony. The book: BaAlei HaRazimprovided a mystical reason to do so. In the Shulchan Aruch the Rama describes thepractice in his glosses.

    copyright. 2014. a. katz Your comments and questions are welcome-

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