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Sefer HaMinhagim
The Book of Chabad-Lubavitch Customs

Weddings

Translated by Uri Kaploun

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For[698] a week before their wedding the bride and groom refrain from meeting, even by day.

"The chassan is called to the Reading of the Torah on the Shabbos before the wedding. Since a chassan and kallah maintain the world in existence because they will bring up children who will engage in the study of the Torah, a chassan is called to read the letters of the Torah which sustain the ten creative utterances [by which G-d continually brings the world into existence]."[699]

"As is well known, the souls of the forebears of the bride and groom - from as far back as three generations, and in certain instances, from even further back - come from the World of Truth and are present when a Jewish wedding is celebrated."[700]

"My revered father-in-law, the Rebbe [Rayatz], instructed the bride to read specific psalms on the wedding day. Which these were, I do not know. It is therefore advisable for a bride to read (if possible) the entire Book of Tehillim, which of course will include those specific psalms."

It was the custom with the Rebbeim for a bridegroom to arrange his course of studies so that he should obtain Rabbinic ordination (Semichah) before his wedding.

[In addition to the chassan and kallah], the Rebbe Rayatz fasted on the days of his daughters' weddings.

If the chuppah is held before sunset, there is no need for the bride and groom to continue fasting until evening.

It is customary for the bridegroom (or, if this is not possible, one of the mechutanim) to recite the maamar beginning Lechah Dodi, 5689,[701] at the reception (kabbalas panim) held in his honor before the chuppah.[702]

According to custom, the unterfihrers for both sides should be married couples.

If either parent has remarried, it is advisable that - in addition to the married couple who serve as unterfihrers - the remarried parent, together with his or her spouse, should also circle the chassan under the chuppah.

It is customary for the fathers of the bridegroom and bride to escort the bridegroom to the chuppah, and for their mothers to escort the bride.

The Alter Rebbe's Niggun of Four Themes is sung while the chassan is being led to the badekenish [or: badeken] (i.e., the veiling of the bride); [it is continued] while the chassan and the kallah are then led in turn to the chuppah; [and thereafter during the circuits].

It is customary for all the unterfihrers, both the men and the women, to walk with the bride around the groom.

It is our custom for the bridegroom to wear a kittel under the chuppah. Accordingly, he does not wear one on the first Yom Kippur following his marriage,[703] but starts the following year.

Before the chuppah the chassan wears a gartl for Minchah (during which he says al cheit, [beginning with the confession on p. 301 of the Siddur]). He continues to wear it under the chuppah, and wears it at all prayers thereafter.

For the chuppah, any knots in his clothes (such as in a tie or shoelaces) should be untied.

While the Kiddushin is being solemnized his pockets should be empty of all money, silver or gold objects, precious stones and the like; nor should anything of this kind (such as a tiepin) be attached to his clothes; and certainly no such thing should be in or on his hands.

The wedding ring should be of gold,[704] and smooth, with absolutely nothing engraved on either the outer or inner surfaces.[705]

In the blessing beginning samach tesamach in the Seven Blessings (i.e., in the Sheva Berachos; Siddur, p. 410), it appears to be certain that both syllables of the first word should be vocalized with a patach.

After the bridegroom and bride have each drunk a little from the glass of wine over which the Seven Blessings have been recited, it is given to someone else to finish. It is this glass that the bridegroom then breaks with his right foot.

After the chuppah a silver spoon is placed on the threshold of the yichud room. The chassan steps over it as he enters, followed by the kallah.

During the seven days of festivity (shivas yemei hamishteh) that follow the wedding, the chassan and kallah should endeavor not to go out, separately or even together, unless accompanied by another person.

One may arrange for the weddings of two sisters to take place in one week, but not on the same day.[706]

It would appear that even in the case of Tishrei it is our custom to hold weddings only in the first half of the month. A wedding planned for MarCheshvan is customarily solemnized in Kislev, even in the second half of the month.[707]

A wedding may be held on any day of Adar; likewise on any day of Elul,[708] since it is the month of mercy.

   

Notes:

  1. (Back to text) The customs in this section, as practiced by the Previous Rebbe, were assembled from letters and talks of the Rebbe Shlita. [Further wedding customs are to be found in an anthology compiled by R. Chanoch Glitzenstein in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the wedding of the Rebbe Shlita, viz., Likkut Yud-Daled Kislev, Taf-shin-lamed-tes (Kehot, Kfar Chabad, 1978; Heb.). See also Yemei Melech, Vol. I, pp. 300-308.]

  2. (Back to text) Derushei Chassunah, 5689 (reprinted in Sefer HaKuntreisim 19b; see there at length).

  3. (Back to text) Ibid., 38b.

  4. (Back to text) The Rebbe Rayatz first delivered this maamar at the kabbalas panim at the wedding of his daughter, Rebbitzin Chayah Mushka [of sainted memory], and his son-in-law, the Rebbe Shlita. [In addition to his own insights, this discourse incorporates teachings from each of the preceding Rebbeim.] Before he began, he stated that by delivering it he was inviting his holy forebears to participate in the wedding. (The maamar and the sichah have been published in Sefer HaKuntreisim, Vol. I.)

  5. (Back to text) [In many communities, as soon as a bridegroom begins to deliver his carefully-prepared dvar Torah, his friends customarily interrupt him with a jolly outburst of singing. In Chabad circles, following a directive of the Rebbe Shlita, this tradition is honored in the following manner. The entire maamar is first listened to attentively from beginning to end. Then, as soon as the bridegroom begins once again, he is duly interrupted according to custom.]

  6. (Back to text) [See footnote 449, above.]

  7. (Back to text) [Igrois Koidesh (Letters of the Rebbe Shlita), Vol. III, p. 429.]

  8. (Back to text) "Concerning this practice, which is a directive of the Previous Rebbe, he once commented, 'So I have heard.' It could be suggested that it is based on Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 5, 10 and 21." (From a letter of the Rebbe Shlita.) [See also Yemei Melech, Vol. I, p. 304.]

  9. (Back to text) A directive of the Previous Rebbe.

  10. (Back to text) From a letter of the Rebbe Shlita [in his Igrois Koidesh, Vol. XVII, p. 306].

  11. (Back to text) A directive of the Rebbe Shlita.


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